US Secretary of State Antony Blinken notified Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during meetings yesterday that the Biden administration is preparing to announce a series of visa bans against Israeli settlers involved in attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, an Israeli official tells The Times of Israel. A US official confirmed the plan to AFP.
The announcement will likely only include the number of settlers being banned from the US, rather than their names, the Israeli official says, explaining that the US hopes that the anonymity will serve as a deterrent against those considering targeting Palestinians who won’t know whether they’ve been black-listed or not.
The visa ban could be imposed as early as next week, the Israeli official says.
The idea was first announced earlier this month in an op-ed US President Joe Biden penned in the Washington Post.
During a press conference last night, Blinken said, “We’re looking to the Israeli government to take some additional steps to really put a stop to this. And at the same time, we’re considering our own steps.”
France’s foreign ministry spokesperson said yesterday that the European Union should also consider sanctioning violent Israeli settlers who attack Palestinians in the West Bank.
An Israeli official told The Times of Israel earlier this month that the government has stepped up its activities to combat the phenomenon, which it says is being perpetrated by a “nucleus” of several hundred extremists at most. Several arrests have indeed been made in recent weeks.