UK sanctions West Bank settlers

The foreign secretary, David Cameron, has announced sanctions on four extremist Israeli settlers who are accused of committing human rights abuses against Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

According to the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, two of those sanctioned - Moshe Sharvit and Yinon Levy - have used physical aggression, threatened families at gunpoint, and destroyed property as part of a targeted and calculated effort to displace Palestinian communities over recent months.

Zvi Bar Yosef is accused of using intimidation and violence against local Palestinians, including twice threatening at gunpoint young families having a picnic, since setting up the ‘Zvi’s Farm’ outpost in 2018.

Ely Federman has also been sanctioned, accused of being involved in multiple incidents against Palestinian shepherds in the South Hebron Hills.

The sanctions will impose financial and travel restrictions.

In December, Cameron announced that the UK plans to ban those responsible for settler violence from entering the UK.

He said: "Today’s sanctions place restrictions on those involved in some of the most egregious abuses of human rights. We should be clear about what is happening here. Extremist Israeli settlers are threatening Palestinians, often at gunpoint, and forcing them off land that is rightfully theirs. This behaviour is illegal and unacceptable. Israel must also take stronger action and put a stop to settler violence. Too often, we see commitments made and undertakings given, but not followed through.

"Extremist settlers, by targeting and attacking Palestinian civilians, are undermining security and stability for both Israelis and Palestinians."

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, violence in the West Bank reached record levels in 2023.

In a press release, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said: "Israel’s failure to act has led to an environment of near total impunity for settler extremists in the West Bank.

"The UK government has continued to call for Israel to take action against those responsible for settler violence, release frozen funds to the Palestinian Authority and halt settlement expansion. The Prime Minister has raised this with Prime Minister Netanyahu on a number of occasions, and in December, the UK and 13 partners released a statement calling on Israel to take immediate and concrete steps to tackle record high settler violence in the occupied West Bank."

Image: DFID - UK Department for International Development, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


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