US sanctions two groups over fundraising for Israeli extremists in West Bank

The Biden administration announced Friday it is imposing sanctions on two groups accused of fundraising for Israeli extremists in the West Bank and the leader of an organization that has assaulted Palestinians.

According to the Treasury Department’s release, the Mount Hebron Fund and the Shlom Asiraich are being sanctioned because they have been “responsible for or complicit in” actions that threatened the “peace, security, or stability of the West Bank” and for financially supporting Yinon Levi and David Chai Chasdai.

Levi and Chasdai are two extremists who were sanctioned earlier this year for violence in the West Bank. Mount Hebron Fund raised $140,000 for Levi, and Shlom Asiraich raised $31,000 for Chasdai, the department said.

“Mount Hebron Fund and Shlom Asiraich generated tens of thousands of dollars for extremists responsible for destroying property, assaulting civilians, and violence against Palestinians,” Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a statement.

Adeyemo said the Treasury Department will “continue to use our tools to hold those responsible accountable.”

The State Department also announced it has sanctioned Ben-Zion Gopstein, the founder of Lehava, an organization that has “engaged in destabilizing violence” and “often targeting sensitive or volatile areas” in the West Bank.

After the Treasury Department sanctioned Levi on Feb. 1, the Mount Hebron Fund created a fundraiser to benefit him. Levi regularly led groups of extremists who “engaged in actions creating an atmosphere of fear” in the West Bank,” including assaulting Palestinian and Bedouin civilians, destroying their property and burning their fields, the department said.

Following Chasdai’s sanctioning, Shlom Asiraich created a fundraiser to benefit him. Chasdai led a riot, involving setting vehicles and buildings on fire and assaulting Palestinians.

“Shlom Asiraich is an Israel-registered non-profit organization based in the West Bank that has also raised funds for other imprisoned violent extremists who share the group’s ideology,” the department said. Due to the new sanctions, financial institutions or people who engage in transactions with the groups may expose themselves to sanctions as well or be “subject to an enforcement action.”

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