The head of the Yesha settlers council claims the US is blowing settler violence out of proportion “in the holy name of balance,” denying that any such phenomenon exists beyond a few people.
(A senior Israeli government official told The Times of Israel earlier this month that the number is no more than several hundred.)
The comments from Yesha come after the US announces that it will subject Israeli and Palestinian extremists in the West Bank to entry bans, accusing Israel of not doing enough to address a rise in cases of settlers attacking Palestinians.
“While Israel is in a fight for its home, a war of light against darkness, the US is trying to put a few cases of criminals who took the law into their own hands onto the other side of the scale,” Yesha head Shlomo Neeman says in a statement. “When they stop a maximum of 10 people, the truth will come out and the world will understand that there is no such phenomenon as settler violence.”
A US official said earlier that the State Department would not publish the names of sanctioned individuals, meaning those who are blacklisted may not know about it until they try to travel.
Washington has repeatedly raised alarms over heightened violence by settler extremists against Palestinians, which has been raised even further in the wake of the October 7 attacks. In some cases, groups of armed vigilantes have rampaged through Palestinian towns following terror attacks, attacking civilians and setting structures on fire.