Biden signs executive order cracking down on Israeli settlers

 February 2, 2024

President Biden signed an executive order cracking down on Israeli settlers for alleged violence toward Palestinians in the West Bank. 

The move is Biden's latest attempt to appease left-wing critics who accuse him of supporting a brutal, Western-backed occupation of Palestine.

Biden signed the order as he was traveling to Michigan, a pivotal swing state with a sizable Arab-Muslim population.

Biden cracks down

The executive order blocks four Israelis from accessing the U.S. financial system, citing their alleged violent actions as indicative of a broader pattern of terrorism against Palestinians.

One of the sanctioned individuals was accused of inciting a riot that led to the death of a Palestinian.

The unprecedented sanctions do not apply to Americans. Many Israeli settlers have dual citizenship in Israel and the U.S.

Biden said that violence from Israeli settlers inflames tensions and undermines the goal of a Palestinian state alongside Israel - the elusive "two state solution."

“This violence poses a grave threat to peace, security, and stability in the West Bank, Israel, and the Middle East region, and threatens the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

Critics of Biden's order say it is too broad and one-sided, and that it attempts to hold up Israeli settlers as the equivalent of Hamas terrorists.

Israel responds

Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu - who has rejected the two-state solution - criticized the order as an intrusion into Israel's affairs.

"Israel takes action against all law-breakers everywhere, and therefore there is no need for unusual measures on the issue," he said.

The relationship between the U.S. and Israel has frayed under Biden, despite complaints from the left that Biden is doing too little to stop Israel from waging war in Gaza, where thousands have died in Israel's effort to wipe out Hamas following the terror group's brutal October 7 attack.

While Biden has angered the left by rejecting calls for a cease-fire, he has put significant pressure on Israel to restrain its military actions, and his vision of a two-state solution is at odds with Israel's security goals.

Most Palestinians also oppose a two-state solution - as expressed in the popular Palestinian slogan "from the river to the sea," which many have described as a call for Israel's annihilation.

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