Violence by settlers has more than doubled since October 7, as the Israel-Hamas war inflames tensions.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday he would propose sanctions against Jewish settlers responsible for violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.
Borrell was speaking after EU foreign ministers debated possible next steps in their response to the Middle East crisis triggered by Palestinian militant group Hamas’s deadly October 7 attack on Israel from Gaza.
Last week the Biden administration imposed visa bans on Israeli settlers who engaged in violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank, in the most punitive measure undertaken by the U.S. toward Israel in decades.
“We have not seen a sufficient level of action by the government of Israel that hold people properly accountable. They have taken some steps — they’ve put some people in administrative detention. We have made clear that when the facts support it, people should be prosecuted if they’ve committed acts of violence,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.
While much international attention has focused on the cross-border assault and Israel’s subsequent war against Hamas in Gaza, European officials have also expressed increasing concern about rising violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.
Borrell said he would propose a special sanctions program to target Hamas — backed by the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Italy — but the EU also had to act against violent Israeli settlers.
Settler violence in the West Bank, already at a 15-year high this year, has more than doubled since October 7.
There is also concern about IDF behaviour in the West Bank. The IDF has opened an investigation into Israeli soldiers who were recorded on Friday shooting a young Palestinian in the al-Farah refugee camp near Nablus, about half a minute after he was shot in the back and fell to the ground.
The Palestinian, 25-year-old Rami al-Gandab, was critically wounded and died of his wounds the next day.
The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit issued a statement saying that Military Police have opened an investigation on suspicion of illegal shooting, adding that “once the investigation is concluded, the findings will be submitted to the IDF legal adviser for examination”.
Support for Hamas grows among Palestinians in West Bank (BBC)
Since the war in Gaza began, Israel’s military operations in the occupied West Bank have become more frequent, and more forceful.
Joshua’s Tomb in West Bank vandalized with pro-Hamas messages (Jerusalem Post)
The tomb was graffitied over with antisemitic phrases and calls in support of Hamas’s October 7 massacre.