J Street Welcomes Second Round of Settler Violence Sanctions

March 14, 2024

J Street welcomes the second round of sanctions under President Biden’s recent Executive Order designed to promote peace, safety and human rights in the West Bank, and encourages its continued application.

The latest sanctions against three Israeli settlers – known for harassing Palestinian civilians in an effort to push them from their land – and the sanctioning of two illegal settlement outposts, signal that the new policy is a serious tool to combat extremism and preserve the viability of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel, and is one that the administration intends to continue applying.

J Street urges President Biden and his administration to remain vigilant in identifying and sanctioning instances of violent or destabilizing activity that run counter to US policy, international law and both Palestinian and Israeli interests. We note that demolitions in Palestinian communities, forced displacement, discriminatory evictions in East Jerusalem and ongoing harassment and intimidation – often with the tacit support of the Israeli government and security services – are all sanctionable under the plain meaning of the policy, and should be consistently dealt with as such.

For decades, settlements beyond the Green Line have posed an existential threat to Israel’s long-term security as a Jewish and democratic homeland. The violent conduct of extremists within the settler movement runs contrary to our values and creates even more challenges for Israel with the international community.

Some of Israel’s most extremist ministers, including those with responsibility for the West Bank and Israeli security personnel operating within it, are driving these policies and are even urging Israeli financial institutions not to comply with the order. The administration should not shy away from including such officials in future rounds of sanctions that fall within the orders’ purview. As Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer said in a landmark speech on the Senate floor today, in which he voiced support for the administration’s efforts to impose consequences, “the unfortunate reality is that this violence is openly supported by Ministers Smotrich and Ben-Gvir, and as long as they hold their positions of power, no true progress will be made.”