Biden Considers Sanctions on Israelis Acknowledging Arab Concerns
On the 1st (local time), President Joe Biden of the United States invoked an executive order to sanction Israelis who had committed violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. This action by President Biden appears to be in response to the concerns of Arab voters protesting U.S. policy towards Israel ahead of this year’s election.
A senior White House official stated, “President Biden signed an executive order to implement new measures in response to actions that undermine peace and stability on the West Bank.”
Under this executive order, the U.S. State and Treasury Departments have secured grounds to sanction foreign nationals related to acts of violence against civilians and other incidents that occurred on the West Bank. The main targets of these sanctions include violence and threats against civilians, seizure and destruction of personal assets, and acts of terrorism.
Based on this, the U.S. government announced sanctions against four individuals who were reported to have committed acts of violence, including taking the lives of Palestinian residents and setting fire to vehicles and buildings. A U.S. official stated, “Once the executive order takes effect, all assets of individuals included in the sanction list within the United States will be frozen, and it will be prohibited for Americans to engage in transactions of goods or services with these targets. Their entry into the United States will also be banned.”
This executive order comes amidst growing criticism within the United States that many Palestinian civilians are being victimized after Israel backed by U.S. support launched a large-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip. Alongside invoking this executive order, President Biden visited Michigan a prominent swing state in the U.S. election, where a significant number of Arab voters reside.
The West Bank, considered Palestinian territory along with the Gaza Strip, is currently under partial administrative control by the Palestinian Authority but Israel continues to maintain military and security control. A significant number of Israeli settlers also reside in the West Bank who according to Politico a U.S. political specialist media outlet have shown aggressive actions towards Palestinians following the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 last year.
Facing re-election this year, President Biden is in the midst of a backlash from progressives and Middle Eastern communities in the U.S., criticized for his passive response to Israel’s violent actions against Palestinians following the war between Israel and Hamas.