The UK on Monday announced sanctions against "extremist Israeli settlers who have violently attacked Palestinians in the West Bank."
The Foreign Secretary announced sanctions the four settlers "who have committed human rights abuses against Palestinian communities in the West Bank," according to an official statement.
The Foreign Office said that there have been "unprecedented levels of violence by extremist settlers in the West Bank over the past year. Some residents of illegal Israeli settlements and outposts have used harassment, intimidation and violence to put pressure on Palestinian communities to leave their land."
The statement said that two of the individuals designated on Monday – Moshe Sharvit and Yinon Levy – have in recent months "used physical aggression, threatened families at gunpoint and destroyed property as part of a targeted and calculated effort to displace Palestinian communities." One illegal outpost, set up by Zvi Bar Yosef, who is also on the sanctions list, has been described by local Palestinian residents as a “source of systematic intimidation and violence,” according to the statement.
Monday's sanctions put strict financial and travel restrictions on the sanctioned individuals. These sanctions follow the announcement by the Foreign Secretary in December that the UK plans to ban those responsible for settler violence from entering the UK "to make sure our country cannot be a home for people who commit these unacceptable acts."
"Today’s sanctions place restrictions on those involved in some of the most egregious abuses of human rights," said Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron. "We should be clear about what is happening here. Extremist Israeli settlers are threatening Palestinians, often at gunpoint, and forcing them off land that is rightfully theirs. This behavior is illegal and unacceptable. Israel must also take stronger action and put a stop to settler violence. Too often, we see commitments made and undertakings given, but not followed through."
Ilay Federman, who has been involved in multiple incidents against Palestinian shepherds in the South Hebron Hills, is the fourth person to be hit with the sanctions.
Violence in the West Bank reached record levels in 2023, with many blaming Israel’s failure to act in an effective manner against extremist settlers.
"The UK Government has continued to call for Israel to take action against those responsible for settler violence, release frozen funds to the Palestinian Authority and halt settlement expansion. The Prime Minister has raised this with Prime Minister Netanyahu on a number of occasions, and in December, the UK and 13 partners released a statement calling on Israel to take immediate and concrete steps to tackle record high settler violence in the occupied West Bank," according to the statement.
The measures are "part of wider UK efforts to support a more stable West Bank, which is vital for the peace and security of both Palestinians and Israelis. The UK will consider additional actions, including further sanctions, as necessary," according to the Home Office.