UK Imposes Sanctions on West Bank Extremist Settlers

Date:

  • New sanctions will target extremist Israeli settlers who have violently attacked Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.
  • Sanctions will impose financial and travel restrictions, in a bid to tackle continued settler violence which threatens West Bank stability.
  • Foreign Secretary commits to “hold those who undermine prospects for peace to account.”

The Foreign Secretary has announced sanctions on four extremist Israeli settlers who have committed human rights abuses against Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

There have been unprecedented levels of violence by extremist settlers in the West Bank over the past year. Some residents of illegal Israeli settlements and outposts have used harassment, intimidation and violence to put pressure on Palestinian communities to leave their land.

Two of the individuals designated today – Moshe Sharvit and Yinon Levy – have in recent months used physical aggression, threatened families at gunpoint, and destroyed property as part of a targeted and calculated effort to displace Palestinian communities. One illegal outpost, set up by Zvi Bar Yosef, has been described by local Palestinian residents as a “source of systematic intimidation and violence.”

Today’s measures put strict financial and travel restrictions on those who commit these acts. These sanctions follow the announcement by the Foreign Secretary in December that the UK plans to ban those responsible for settler violence from entering the UK to make sure our country cannot be a home for people who commit these unacceptable acts.

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron said:

Today’s sanctions place restrictions on those involved in some of the most egregious abuses of human rights. We should be clear about what is happening here. Extremist Israeli settlers are threatening Palestinians, often at gunpoint, and forcing them off land that is rightfully theirs. This behaviour is illegal and unacceptable. Israel must also take stronger action and put a stop to settler violence. Too often, we see commitments made and undertakings given, but not followed through.

Extremist settlers, by targeting and attacking Palestinian civilians, are undermining security and stability for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Those now subject to a UK asset freeze, travel and visa ban include:

  • Moshe Sharvit – an extremist settler who has threatened, harassed and assaulted Palestinian shepherds and their families in the Jordan Valley. In October 2023, one community of twenty families fled after Sharvit attacked the residents and told them they had five hours to leave;
  • Yinon Levy – leader of the ‘Meitarim Farm’ outpost, founded in 2021, whose settlers have used physical violence and the destruction of property to displace Palestinian communities including Zanuta in October 2023;
  • Zvi Bar Yosef – a settler leader who, since setting up the ‘Zvi’s Farm’ outpost in 2018, has used intimidation and violence against local Palestinians, including twice threatening at gunpoint young families having a picnic;
  • Ely Federman – involved in multiple incidents against Palestinian shepherds in the South Hebron Hills.

Violence in the West Bank reached record levels in 2023. Israel’s failure to act has led to an environment of near total impunity for settler extremists in the West Bank.

The UK Government has continued to call for Israel to take action against those responsible for settler violence, release frozen funds to the Palestinian Authority and halt settlement expansion. The Prime Minister has raised this with Prime Minister Netanyahu on a number of occasions, and in December, the UK and 13 partners released a statement calling on Israel to take immediate and concrete steps to tackle record high settler violence in the occupied West Bank.

The measures taken today are part of wider UK efforts to support a more stable West Bank, which is vital for the peace and security of both Palestinians and Israelis. The UK will consider additional actions, including further sanctions, as necessary.

The UK continues to work with allies and partners, including across the region, to find a path towards a sustainable ceasefire and permanent peace.

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