US sanctions Israeli extremist organization tied to violence in the West Bank

The United States on Thursday imposed sanctions on an Israeli violent extremist organization, three Israeli individuals and four “outposts” connected to violence in the West Bank.

Thursday’s sanctions are the latest tranche under an executive order issued by President Joe Biden in early February amid increased violence in the occupied West Bank. That violence flared in the wake of the October 7 terrorist attack and has continued in subsequent months.

“The United States remains deeply concerned about extremist violence and instability in the West Bank, which undermines Israel’s own security,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.

“We strongly encourage the Government of Israel to take immediate steps to hold these individuals and entities accountable. In the absence of such steps, we will continue to impose our own accountability measures,” he said.

Members of the organization sanctioned by the State Department on Thursday, Lehava, “have engaged in repeated acts of violence against Palestinians, often targeting sensitive or volatile areas,” according to the State Department. The agency previously sanctioned Lehava’s founder and leader, Ben-Zion Gopstein.

The Biden administration also imposed sanctions on Isaschar Manne and his farm outpost, which he established “in the South Hebron Hills in 2020 after seizing 150 hectares of land.”

According to the State Department, the amount of West Bank land Manne’s outpost has seized since then “has nearly doubled” and “settlers from this outpost regularly attack community shepherds and prevent their access to pastureland through acts of violence.”

Additionally, the administration imposed sanctions on three other outposts in the West Bank – Meitarim Farm, Neriya’s Farm, and Hamahoch Farm – controlled by Israelis who the US previously sanctioned for violence in the West Bank.

Meitarim Farm “is expanding into plots of land and dispossessing the areas from local Palestinian families through activities aimed at expelling residents,” the State Department said.

Neriya’s Farm “was established adjacent to the lands of the Palestinian village of Taybeh, taking up hundreds of acres of land and preventing Palestinian farmers from using their fields,” the agency said, and settlers from there “have prevented access to pasturage and water sources, destroyed crops, approached houses and threatened Palestinian residents, and disturbed the peace in the area.”

The administration on Thursday also imposed sanctions Reut Ben Haim and Aviad Shlomo Sarid, who are both leaders of Tsav 9. The Biden administration imposed sanctions on Tsav 9 last month because of their role in disrupting humanitarian convoys headed to Gaza.

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