LONDON — Britain’s government said Monday it is imposing sanctions on four Israeli settlers accused of committing human rights abuses against Palestinians in the West Bank.
The Foreign Office said the sanctions were in response to “unprecedented levels” of violence by settlers in the West Bank over the past year, including those who aggressively harassed or intimidated Palestinians to pressure them to leave their land. It said Israel’s failure to act has led to “near total impunity” for the settlers.
Officials said Moshe Sharvit and Yinon Levy allegedly threatened Palestinian families at gunpoint and destroyed property in recent months as part of a “targeted and calculated effort to displace Palestinian communities.”
They named Zvi Bar Yosef and Ely Federman as the other two men sanctioned Monday. The four are subjected to a U.K. asset freeze and travel and visa ban.
“Extremist Israeli settlers are threatening Palestinians, often at gunpoint, and forcing them off land that is rightfully theirs. This behaviour is illegal and unacceptable,” Foreign Secretary David Cameron said in a statement.
“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,” Cameron added.
The sanctions followed a similar order earlier this month by U.S President Joe Biden, who named Levy among four Israel settlers accused of attacking Palestinians in the West Bank.
There was no immediate Israeli reaction to the latest sanctions. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the earlier U.S. measures.
“The vast majority of settlers are law-abiding citizens, many of them these days are fighting as conscripts and reservists for the defense of Israel,” he said in a statement. He said his country “takes action against law breakers in every place, and therefore there is no place for exceptional steps on this measure.”