ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 140

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After US, Belgium announces travel ban on violent Israeli settlers

Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo speaks during the High-Level Segment for Heads of State and Government session at the United Nations climate summit in Dubai on December 2, 2023. (Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)
Belgium's Prime Minister Alexander De Croo speaks during the High-Level Segment for Heads of State and Government session at the United Nations climate summit in Dubai on December 2, 2023. (Giuseppe CACACE / AFP)

Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announces that violent Israeli settlers who attack Palestinians in the West bank will be banned from Belgium, a day after the US made a similar announcement.

De Croo writes that “violence against civilians will have consequences” and “extremist settlers in the West Bank will be banned from entering Belgium.”

“We will work with the US on sanctions targeting individuals involved in actions that undermine peace, security, and stability in the West Bank,” he writes on X in a post accompanied for a video of an address he gave at Ghent University earlier today.

“Since the atrocious [October 7] attacks, the Belgian government has defended Israel’s right to defend its own population, the core task of every government. But since day one, we have also asked for restraint, for the release of all hostages ,and for the respect of international humanitarian law and unhindered humanitarian access,” he says in the address.

“When innocent civilians in Kyiv or Gaza are killed, we should speak up if we want our voices to be credible,” he says, adding that it’s “not just words that count.”

De Croo says “extremist settlers in the West Bank will be banned from entering Belgium” and promises that Belgium will work with the US “on these sanction measures” and “push the European Union to follow suit.”

An Israeli official told The Times of Israel last month that the government has stepped up its activities to combat settler violence, which it argues is being perpetrated by a “nucleus” of several hundred extremists at most. Several arrests have indeed been made in recent weeks.

Based on military estimates, the vast majority of the 200 Palestinians killed in the West Bank since October 7 were shot dead during clashes amid arrest raids. Around 60 percent of them, according to data seen by The Times of Israel, were armed with either a firearm or an explosive device.

The IDF is aware of at least three cases of uninvolved Palestinians being killed by troops in recent weeks, and a handful of cases of settlers killing Palestinians, which are still under investigation.

Jacob Magid contributed to this report.

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