Canada Imposes Sanctions on Israeli Settlers as Attacks on Palestinians Skyrocket - Latest Global News

Canada Imposes Sanctions on Israeli Settlers as Attacks on Palestinians Skyrocket

Western countries tout their support for a two-state solution, but exert little pressure to expand settlements.

The Canadian government has announced it will impose sanctions on four Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank as settler violence against Palestinians increases during Israel’s war in Gaza.

In a news release Thursday, Canada’s Department of Global Affairs said it was imposing sanctions on Israeli settlers for the first time for “violent and destabilizing” actions against Palestinians.

“Attacks by extremist Israeli settlers – a long-standing source of tension and conflict in the region – have increased alarmingly in recent months,” the ministry said. “This has undermined the human rights of Palestinians and the prospects for a two-state solution, and posed significant risks to regional security.”

The attacked settlers are David Chai Chasdai, Yinon Levi, Zvi Bar Yosef and Moshe Sharvit. The ministry said all four were directly or indirectly involved in violence against Palestinian civilians and property.

The sanctions were announced as impatience with Israel’s refusal to curb settler attacks grows in Western countries that have long touted their support for a two-state solution but have faced little consequence for Israel’s continued expansion of settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank . These settlements are illegal under international law.

In February, the United States announced it would impose sanctions on a handful of Israeli settlers, including Khasdai and Levi, for attacks on Palestinians.

The move opened up the possibility of a broader U.S. campaign to put pressure on the settler movement, but President Joe Biden’s administration has limited sanctions to a handful of individuals for now.

The U.S. resisted calls for sanctions against far-right Israeli ministers such as National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, but even more limited sanctions against settlers drew ire from Israeli officials.

Since the start of Israel’s war on Gaza, settler attacks on Palestinians have reached new levels, often under the noses of Israeli forces that have taken few steps against the perpetrators.

This week, a group of Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian truck driver in the West Bank, mistakenly believing he was bringing humanitarian aid to Gaza.

According to the Israeli human rights group B’tselem, which said Israel’s policies in the occupied territories constituted the crime of apartheid, only three percent of investigations into Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians – many of which went unreported – resulted in convictions.

This apathy is not surprising for Palestinians, who view right-wing settlers and the policies of the Israeli state as two iterations of a common effort to expel Palestinians and promote Jewish settlements in the occupied territories.

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