ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 149

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Local bank freezes account of second extremist settler hit with US sanctions

Accused of leading rampage in West Bank village last year, David Chai Chasdai says he’s ‘happy to be on the US blacklist’ but hopes Bank Hadoar will ‘correct the injustice’

David Chai Chasdai appears at a hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court on July 2, 2013. (Yossi Zeliger/FLASH90)
David Chai Chasdai appears at a hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate's Court on July 2, 2013. (Yossi Zeliger/FLASH90)

A second settler recently sanctioned by the US for alleged acts of violence in the West Bank had his Israeli bank account frozen, according to Hebrew media reports on Monday.

David Chai Chasdai appeared to confirm the reports that his account at Bank Hadoar was frozen, telling the Walla news site that he hoped the bank would “correct the injustice and release my money.”

The reports came a day after Bank Leumi froze the account of another settler sanctioned by the US, Yinon Levi, telling him the move was in compliance with the sanctions that determine that access to US financial systems or software by sanctioned individuals is a criminal offense.

According to the US, Chasdai allegedly initiated and led a rampage in the northern West Bank village of Huwara last year that resulted in the death of one of the Palestinian residents.

The move by Bank Hadoar, which is run by the Israel Post, was notable because it a state-owned bank.

Bank Hapoalim has also indicated that it plans to freeze the accounts of two other settlers.

Settlers look on as cars and homes burn in the West Bank town of Huwara on February 26, 2023. (Courtesy)

US President Joe Biden signed an executive order last week declaring a national emergency that allows him to implement new measures to combat settler violence, including sanctions concurrently announced against the four extremist settlers.

In the interview with Walla, Chasdai said he was “happy to be on the US blacklist — apparently they’ve identified something real in what I represent.”

He also said he had no intentions of changing his behavior as a result of the sanctions. “Let it be clear to Biden that I will continue my operations for the people of Israel and the land of Israel, because the Jewish people lives and they have returned to their land,” he was quoted as saying.

He was similarly nonplussed by the ban on entering the US, saying, “I just want to inform Biden that the Torah forbids us from leaving the Holy Land for an unclean land, so I’m happy that he’s helping me abide by the Torah.”

There has been substantial documentation and reporting on rising settler violence in recent months following Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel, and Shin Bet chief Ronen Bar reportedly warned the cabinet of the repercussions in late October.

The attacks have often targeted property, and have included stone-throwings at passing cars, assaults, and even alleged killings, with the vast majority of cases going unprosecuted, according to rights groups.

The US action last week was the furthest that any administration has taken to address the phenomenon, which has persisted despite repeated warnings from Washington for Israel to address it, including after a series of first-of-their-kind visa restrictions were announced in December. The announcement also came amid growing heat Biden has been feeling from progressive Democrats over his continued support for Israel in the war against Hamas and his opposition to a permanent ceasefire.

Jacob Magid contributed to this report. 

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