‘Israel acts against all Israelis who break the law, everywhere; therefore, exceptional measures are unnecessary,’ the Israeli prime minister said.
President Joe Biden issued a new executive order on Feb. 1 directing sanctions against Israeli settlers accused of fomenting violence and intimidation against Palestinians in the West Bank.
“I have issued an Executive Order declaring a national emergency to deal with the threat posed by the situation in the West Bank, including in particular high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages, and property destruction,” President Biden said in a statement formally notifying Congress of his executive order.
The president said the actions of certain West Bank settlers risk undermining peace and stability throughout the West Bank, Gaza, Israel, and the broader Middle East.
“I find that these actions constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States, and I have declared a national emergency to deal with that threat,” the president stated.
President Biden’s sanctions come nearly two months after his administration imposed new policies revoking U.S. visas and barring entry into the United States for Israeli citizens suspected of participating in violence and intimidation in the West Bank.
Shortly after the president’s announcement on Feb. 1, the U.S. State Department named the first four Israeli nationals to be sanctioned under this new executive order: David Chai Chasdai (also spelled Hasdai), Einan Tanjil, Shalom Zicherman, and Yinon Levi.
The State Department alleges that Mr. Chasdai initiated and led a riot, in which participants set fires to vehicles and buildings, destroyed property, and assaulted Palestinian civilians in the West Bank town of Huwara. A Palestinian civilian was killed during this incident.
The State Department alleges that Mr. Tanjil threw stones and used clubs to attack Palestinians and Israeli activists alike, causing injuries that required medical treatment.
The State Department alleges that Mr. Zicherman assaulted Israeli activists in the West Bank, cornering at least two activists and injuring both. He is also alleged to have attempted to break the window of a passing vehicle occupied by Israeli activists.