Joe Biden will issue an executive order targeting Israeli settlers who attack Palestinians in West Bank
Image via AP.

Joe Biden
Attacks by Israeli settlers have intensified since the Israel-Hamas war started.

President Joe Biden is expected to issue an executive order targeting Israeli settlers in the West Bank who have been attacking Palestinians in the occupied territory, according to four people familiar with the matter.

A senior administration official, who like the others was not authorized to comment publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the White House was expected to announce the order later Thursday.

The order comes with Biden facing growing criticism for his administration’s strong support of Israel as casualties mount in the Israel-Hamas war. The move is rare step against America’s closest ally in the Mideast whom Biden says has the right to defend itself. But the Democratic President has pressed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to show greater restraint in its military operations aimed at rooting out Hamas, the militant group that runs Gaza and struck Israel on Oct. 7.

Biden has spoken out against retaliatory attacks by Israeli settlers and pledged that those those responsible for the violence will be held accountable. He said in late October that the violence by “extremist settlers” amounted to “pouring gasoline” on the already burning fires in the Middle East. “It has to stop. They have to be held accountable. It has to stop now,” Biden said.

Israel Defense Forces stepped up raids across the West Bank after the war began. Hamas militants are present in the West Bank, but largely operate underground because of Israel’s tight grip on the territory. Palestinians complain that the Israeli crackdown in the West Bank have further blurred the line between security forces and radical, violent settlers.

The executive order is expected to set the ground for imposing sanctions on individuals who have engaged in violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan met on Wednesday at the White House with Ron Dermer, the Israeli Minister of Strategic Affairs. It was not clear whether the executive order was discussed.

The order will give the Treasury Department the authority to impose financial sanctions on settlers, but is not meant to target U.S. citizens. A substantial number of the settlers in the West Bank hold U.S. citizenship.

Attacks by Israeli settlers have intensified since the war started, and some Palestinians have been killed, according to Palestinian authorities. Rights groups say settlers have torched cars and attacked several small Bedouin communities, forcing evacuations to other areas.

Biden’s expected order was first reported by POLITICO.

The new executive order comes as Biden was set to visit Michigan on Thursday to rally support from union members in a key presidential battleground state. The Democratic President has faced sharp criticism from Arab and Muslim leaders over his handling of the war with Hamas, and the shadow of the conflict has some Democrats worrying that it could have a major effect on the outcome in the November election.

The President’s campaign team has already seen alarming signs of the growing rift with Michigan’s Arab American community.

Last week, the President’s Campaign Manager, Julie Chavez Rodriguez, traveled to suburban Detroit and found a number of community leaders unwilling to meet with her. Some frustrated by Biden’s Israel policy are working to discourage voters from supporting the President in the General Election.

The State Department announced in December it would impose travel bans on extremist Jewish settlers implicated in a rash of recent attacks on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

The Department did not announce individual visa bans. But officials said at the time the bans would cover “dozens” of settlers and their families, with more to come if the violence continued.

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Republished with permission of The Associated Press.

Associated Press



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