Canada sanctions seven Israelis, five entities over West Bank violence

FILE PHOTO: Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly speaks during a reception honouring the visit of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat in Gatineau, Quebec

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canada on Thursday imposed sanctions on seven Israeli settlers it said had taken part in extremist violence in the West Bank, the second time in just over a month Ottawa has taken such a step.

The foreign ministry said it had also imposed punitive measures on five entities, including settler organizations.

"We remain deeply concerned by extremist settler violence in the West Bank and condemn such acts, not only for the significant impact they have on Palestinian lives, but also for the corrosive impact they have on prospects for lasting peace," Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said in a statement.

Violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank was already at a more than 15-year high in 2023 and surged further after Israel's war in the separate enclave of Gaza in response to the Palestinian militant group Hamas' attack on Oct. 7.

Those Canada targeted include Ben-Zion Gopstein, founder and leader of the right-wing group Lehava, which opposes Jewish assimilation with non-Jews.

Also listed are Elisha Yered, who has justified killing Palestinians on religious grounds, and Shalom Zicherman, who the U.S. State Department this year said had assaulted Israeli activists and their vehicles in the West Bank.

Canada's sanctions follow similar measures by allies including the United States and Britain.

The measures prohibit dealings related to the individuals and render them inadmissible to Canada, the foreign ministry said. Ottawa imposed sanctions on four settlers last month.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Rod Nickel)