As violence between Israeli settlers and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank continues, the United States has announced visa restrictions on those undermining peace, security and stability in the area.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made this known in a statement released on Tuesday by his spokesperson, Matthew Miller.
He stated that Israel has not taken adequate steps to address issues of incessant attacks by its settlers against Palestinians despite their warnings against such action.
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The statement said: “The United States has consistently opposed actions that undermine stability in the West Bank, including attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians, and Palestinian attacks against Israelis.
“We have underscored to the Israeli government the need to do more to hold accountable extremist settlers who have committed violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.”
He said President Biden had repeatedly condemned those attacks.
Blinken, who visited Israel and Palestine last week where he met with leaders of both states – Benjamin Netanyahu and Mahmoud Abbas respectively, said he “made it clear that the United States is ready to take action using our own authorities,” against any escalation of violence in the West Bank.
“Today, the State Department is implementing a new visa restriction policy targeting individuals believed to have been involved in undermining peace, security, or stability in the West Bank, including through committing acts of violence or taking other actions that unduly restrict civilians’ access to essential services and basic necessities. Immediate family members of such persons also may be subject to these restrictions.
“We will continue to seek accountability for all acts of violence against civilians in the West Bank, regardless of the perpetrator or the victim.”
He said the United States would continue to engage with the Israeli leadership and Palestinian authority on the need to take additional measures to curb attacks on one another.
“Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority have the responsibility to uphold stability in the West Bank. Instability in the West Bank both harms the Israeli and Palestinian people and threatens Israel’s national security interests. Those responsible for it must be held accountable,” Blinken warned.
Hostilities have intensified in the occupied West Bank since the October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas group that killed approximately 1,200 people and took roughly 240 others hostage.
The attack which resulted in retaliation by Israeli Defence Forces, has led to death of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza.
According to the statement, Blinken did not mention visa bans on specific individuals but they would Target those escalating violence in the area.