The US Government imposed sanctions on four Israeli settlers, namely David Chai Chasdai, Einan Tanjil, Shalom Zicherman, and Yinon Levi, who were involved in using violence against Palestinians.
US President Joe Biden has his sights set on the occupied West Bank, despite mounting demands to act in response to Israel’s war on Gaza.
Since the start of the Gaza War on October 7, there has been a significant surge in Israeli settlement activity, and several nations have started to penalize and outlaw those who are thought to be involved in violent or unlawful activities.
To “promote accountability for certain harmful activities that threaten the peace, security, and stability of the West Bank,” the US administration said on Thursday that it had placed financial sanctions on four Israeli settlers who had used violence against Palestinians.
“The situation in the West Bank – in particular high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages, and property destruction – has reached intolerable levels and constitutes a serious threat to the peace, security, and stability,” Biden said in an executive order.
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Here are the four Israeli settlers that the US has targeted, with additional sanctions anticipated in the future:
David Chai Chasdai
David Chai Chasdai, 29, is a well-known settler who started the violent riots in the Palestinian town of Huwwara in February of last year. He was detained in Israel for his role in what an Israeli army commander called “a pogrom committed by outlaws.”
Sameh Aqtash, 37, was killed and 98 other Palestinians were injured during the Huwwara incident, which also resulted in extensive property damage and the burning of houses and cars.
After being under surveillance by the security services for a while, Chasdai was placed in administrative custody, a rarely used measure against Israelis, for three months.
Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir referred to Chasdai and his fellow settlers as “heroic” and criticized Chasdai’s incarceration as “undemocratic” even though both Israeli lawmakers and the world community denounced the rioting.
He was previously detained in 2015 and 2017, according to Haaretz, for threatening a police officer, for manufacturing harmful chemicals, and for using tear gas to attack a Palestinian taxi driver.
The US State Department reported that 21-year-old Einan Tanjil had been using stones and clubs to attack Palestinian farmers and left-leaning Israeli activists, causing “injuries that required medical treatment”.
Tanjil was charged in 2021 for using a club to beat Israeli activist Neta Ben-Porat, then 19 years old, on the head and legs as she assisted Palestinians in harvesting olives close to Surif, a town in the West Bank. According to the accusation, he was also in possession of tear gas and a knife.
Shalom Zicherman, 32, gained notoriety in June after a video of him attacking Israeli activists and their cars in the West Bank went viral.
They are seen being blocked on the street by Zicherman, who is from the illegal settlement of Mitzpe Yair, and he is seen trying to smash the windows of passing cars that contain activists.
Zicherman “cornered at least two of the activists and injured both,” according to the State Department. Regarding the attacks, he was charged in 2022, and his trial is currently pending.
The Israeli activist Itai Feitelson, who first shared a video of the attack, claimed that Shalom was mostly being blamed for the violence, even though it was the first instance he was directly aware of where a settler had been convicted for it.
Thirty-one-year-old Yinon Levi was credited by the State Department with organizing a group of settlers who “engaged in actions creating an atmosphere of fear in the West Bank”.
According to the report, Levi had been leading parties of settlers from the illegal Meitarim Farm outpost regularly to attack Palestinian and Bedouin inhabitants, burning their crops, and damaging their belongings. He also threatened them with more violence if they did not leave their homes.
Levi said that it was “strange they’re dealing with this nonsense now” in response to the penalties, according to NPR. He also mentioned that he had never been to the US or owned property there.