“The time has come to move from words to actions … and to start adopting the measures we can take with regard to the acts of violence against the Palestinian population in the West Bank,” these remarks about settler violence by Josep Borrell following a meeting of EU foreign ministers is indicative of the depth of humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The top envoy of the European Union says he would suggest punishing Jewish residents in the Israeli-occupied West Bank who use violence against Palestinians.
Josep Borrell, the head of the Union’s foreign policy, stated that the violence committed by radical settlers in the West Bank was alarming. He denounced the move by the Israeli government to permit 1,700 additional dwellings in Jerusalem, which Brussels views as a breach of international humanitarian law.
The UN reports that since October 7, the number of settler assaults on Palestinian people has nearly doubled. In the occupied territories, at least 275 Palestinians have died as a result of Israeli military operations. At least 63 children are among the victims, while 3,365 more are hurt.
The European Ministers were not totally thrilled about the planned policy, according to Borrell. Still, he will collaborate with EU officials to compile a list of well-known Israeli settlers who have carried out attacks.
Although the EU foreign policy head has not yet made a formal suggestion, he has stated that he will recommend that the settlers be penalized for violating human rights.
Penalties for Settler Violence
Borrell withheld information regarding the penalties. Travel to the EU will be prohibited, according to EU officials. Some officials claim that this is a difficult proposal because Israel has strong supporters in nations like Austria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary. Nevertheless, Israel’s greatest ally, banned visas for settlers who had carried out deadly assaults in the occupied West Bank last week.
In October, Belgium declared it will forbid settlers from entering its territory, while France stated it was also thinking about taking similar action. Following signals of allegiance from Benjamin Netanyahu’s far-right administration, settler aggression in Israel has increased throughout the past year.
There are some of these ultranationalist settlers inside the government of Netanyahu. Most nations in the world believe that Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank are unlawful. They are, nonetheless, constructed on land that Israel took during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
Over the past ten years, there has been a significant growth in the number of communities within the occupied territory. Settler violence is perceived by Palestinians as a component of a broader Israeli endeavor to evict them from ancestral lands.
No European Union minister opposed Borrell’s proposal to launch an additional sanctions campaign against Hamas. The group is already regarded as a terrorist organization by the EU. Despite that, Borrel’s comment may have been a strategy to contain the pressure by Israeli allies in European Union.