EU Chief Supports Sanctions on “Extremist” Israeli Settlers in West Bank

Wed Dec 13 2023
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STRASBOURG: European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen voiced her support on Wednesday for imposing sanctions on “extremist” Israeli settlers responsible for attacks on innocent Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Von der Leyen addressed EU lawmakers, condemning the escalating Israeli violence and emphasizing its detrimental impact on the prospects for a lasting peace, which could further exacerbate regional instability.

“The rise in violence by extremist settlers is inflicting immense suffering on the innocent Palestinians. It undermines the prospects for a lasting peace and could further exacerbate regional instability,” stated von der Leyen. “I am in favor of sanctioning those involved in the attacks in the West Bank. They must be held accountable. This violence has nothing to do with the fight against Hamas and must stop.”

EU Foreign Policy Chief Proposes Sanctions on Israeli Settlers

The European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, had previously announced on Monday that he intended to propose sanctions against the West Bank settlers. However, the success of these measures hinges on obtaining unanimous support from all 27 EU member states, and there are existing divisions within the bloc regarding this issue.

Von der Leyen’s remarks followed a rare rebuke from the United States last week, where it announced its refusal to grant visas to Israeli settlers believed to be behind a recent wave of violence in the West Bank. The EU has struggled to establish a unified stance on the ongoing violence in the Middle East, particularly since the October 7.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, a prominent advocate for restraint from Israel, urged an immediate ceasefire. “We must say enough is enough, enough to the killing of innocent Palestinian civilians in Gaza,” stated Sanchez, whose country currently holds the EU’s rotating presidency. “The bombing must stop immediately.”

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