EU still divided over sanctions against Israeli settler violence

More than a week after the US issued a presidential order sanctioning Israeli settlers who commit violence against Palestinians, the European Union is still hesitating. While France and other EU heavyweights have pushed for sanctions, smaller members are refusing to agree.

On 1 February, citing "high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages, and property destruction", US President Joe Biden issued an executive order that blocks funds and imposes travel bans on people and organisations involved in settler violence.

Such violence, he argued, undermines the security of Israel and risks widening the conflict across the Middle East, threatening US personnel and interests.

The move drew mixed reactions.

"It is a good step by Biden, but I think it should not mislead us," Shawan Jabarin, director of West Bank human rights organisation Al Haq, told RFI.

"Because settlements are the root cause of the problem, it is not just an extremist here or there, or individuals. The question is: who is behind it and why, and the crime is the transferring of Israelis to Palestine territory and building the settlements. That’s a war crime," he argues.

But settlers are angry. "I am very disappointed," says Yisrael Medad, who lives in the Shiloh settlement on the West Bank, 45 km north of Jerusalem.

"The numbers are all off."

European position

Read more on RFI English

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