The British government on Monday announced sanctions against four Israeli settlers accused of human rights violations against Palestinians in the West Bank.
The British Foreign Office said the sanctions are in response to “unprecedented levels” of violence by settlers in the West Bank in the past year, including some who harassed or intimidated Palestinians in an attempt to get them to leave their land. He added that Israeli inaction in the face of such events has created “almost absolute impunity” for settlers.
Moshe Sharvit and Yinon Levy, according to officials, allegedly threatened Palestinian families at gunpoint and destroyed property in recent months as part of “a specific and calculated effort to displace Palestinian communities.”
The other two sanctioned are Zvi Bar Yosef and Ely Federman. All four will have any assets they have in Britain frozen and will not be able to travel or hold visas from that country.
“Extremist Israeli settler leaders are threatening Palestinians, often at gunpoint, and forcing them off land that is legally theirs. This behavior is illegal and unacceptable,” British Foreign Secretary David Cameron said in a statement.
“Israel must also crack down harder and put an end to settler violence. Too often we see initial pledges and action, but no follow-up,” Cameron added.
The sanctions follow a similar order announced a few days ago by U.S. President Joe Biden, who named Levy as one of four settlers accused of attacking Palestinians in the West Bank.
There was no immediate Israeli reaction to the latest sanctions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the U.S. sanctions.
“The vast majority of settlers are law-abiding citizens, and many of them these days are fighting as soldiers and reservists for Israel’s defense,” Netanyahu said in a statement. Israel, he added, “takes action against every lawbreaker everywhere, and therefore there is no room for exceptional measures of this nature.”