The U.S. has begun imposing visa bans on people involved in the fighting and violence in the West Bank, according to U.S. officials.
The new State Department visa restriction policy targets "individuals believed to have been involved in undermining peace, security, or stability in the West Bank, including through committing acts of violence or taking other actions that unduly restrict civilians’ access to essential services and basic necessities," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.
BREAKING: Blinken announces a new visa ban policy targeting Israeli settlers accused of West Bank violence.— Elizabeth Hagedorn (@ElizHagedorn) December 5, 2023
"Those attacks are unacceptable... Last week in Israel, I made clear that the United States is ready to take action using our own authorities." pic.twitter.com/XpZUv5WkNf
According to Reuters, the U.S. has continually asked Israel to stop the violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.
"They need to do more to stop extremist violence against Palestinians and hold those responsible for it accountable," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters in a press briefing after the announcement.
Meanwhile, officials are calling upon Palestine to put an end to Palestinian attacks against Israelis.
Miller said the visa bans took effect this week, and Israelis who have committed violent attacks will either have their visa revoked or be blocked from application.
"We expect ultimately for this action to impact dozens of individuals and potentially their family members," Miller said.
The United Nations reported more than 300 settler attacks against Palestinians since Hamas’ October 7 attack on the Gaza Strip, according to the BBC.
More than 700,000 Jewish people live in more than 250 settlements in the West Bank. Most of the international community considers the settlements illegal under international law. Biden’s administration has supported Israel.
"We have underscored to the Israeli government the need to do more to hold accountable extremist settlers who have committed violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank," Blinken said in a statement on Tuesday. "As President Biden has repeatedly said, those attacks are unacceptable."
Meanwhile, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israeli authorities have a right to use violence.
"Israel is a state of law. The right to use violence belongs only to those who are certified to do so by the government," he said.
Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Ahmad Hasaballah / Stringer
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.