State Department bans some Israelis from entering US
On December 5, the State Department imposed a travel ban on extremist Jewish settlers linked to a string of recent attacks on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, the State Department reported. Yahoo.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the move. He warned Israel last week that President Joe Biden's administration would take action over the attacks. Blinken did not announce individual visa bans, but department spokesman Matthew Miller said the bans would be implemented starting Dec. 5 and would cover “dozens” of settlers and their families. And if settler violence continues, there will be even more of them. He gave no figures and declined to identify any of those targeted due to privacy concerns.
The decision comes at a sensitive moment in US-Israeli relations. The Biden administration has stood firmly behind Israel since it was attacked by Hamas on October 7, despite increased international criticism of Israel.
The Israeli Embassy in Washington declined to comment on this event.
In recent weeks, the administration has stepped up calls for Israel to do more to limit civilian casualties as the Israelis expand their offensive and strike the densely populated southern Gaza Strip. The US refrained from directly criticizing the offensive. But there has been growing talk of settler violence in the West Bank and Israel's failure to respond to US calls to stop it.
“We have stressed to the Israeli government that more needs to be done to hold accountable the extremist settlers who have carried out brutal attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank,” Blinken said in a statement. “As President Biden has said repeatedly, these attacks are unacceptable.”
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on December 4 that settlers had killed at least eight Palestinians in the West Bank since October 7.
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The U.N. agency said it recorded 314 settler attacks that resulted in Palestinian casualties, damage to Palestinian-owned property, or both. A third of the attacks involved threats with firearms, including shooting, and in almost half of the attacks, settlers were accompanied or actively supported by Israeli forces.
“Today, the Department of State is implementing a new visa restriction policy targeting individuals believed to be complicit in undermining peace, security, and stability in the West Bank, including by committing acts of violence or taking other actions that unduly restrict civilians' access to vital services. and essential supplies,” Blinken said.
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He said the US will continue to seek accountability for settler violence against Palestinians, as well as Palestinian attacks on Israelis in the West Bank and Israel, especially given the extremely high tensions over the Gaza conflict.
“Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have a responsibility to maintain stability in the West Bank,” Blinken said. “Instability in the West Bank harms the Israeli and Palestinian people and threatens Israel's national security interests.”
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