President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order (EO) sanctioning several Israelis who have stoked violence in the West Bank since the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. While this has been an issue historically, oppression against Palestinians has been at the forefront for several months as Israel indiscriminately bombs civilians with the unwavering support of the United States.

With President Biden facing mounting pressure and the majority of the country saying the US isn’t doing enough to end the conflict, questions doubting the legitimacy of the sanctions are already making waves. The EO provides an opportunity for Israelis to be removed from the list by seeking reconsideration from the US treasury which enforces such sanctions – an option not typically afforded to others who are often similarly sanctioned.

“The United States has taken action against persons connected to escalating violence against civilians in the West Bank,” reads a statement attributable to Department of State spokesperson Matt Miller. “The Department of State is imposing financial sanctions on four individuals pursuant to a new Executive Order that President Biden announced today to promote accountability for certain harmful activities that threaten the peace, security, and stability of the West Bank,” Miller’s statement continued.

“The Executive Order establishes U.S. authority to issue financial sanctions against those directing or participating in certain actions, including acts or threats of violence against civilians, intimidating civilians to cause them to leave their homes, destroying or seizing property, or engaging in terrorist activity in the West Bank.”

The individuals designated for coordinating violent actions against Palestinians are listed as follows:

  • David Chai Chasadi initiated and led a riot, which involved setting vehicles and buildings on fire, assaulting Palestinian civilians, and causing damage to property in Huwara, which resulted in the death of a Palestinian civilian.
  • Einan Tanjil was involved in assaulting Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists by attacking them with stones and clubs, resulting in injuries that required medical treatment.
  • Shalom Zicherman assaulted Israeli activists and their vehicles in the West Bank, blocking them on the street, and attempting to break the windows of passing vehicles with activists inside, according to video evidence. Zicherman cornered at least two of the activists and injured both.
  • Yinon Levi led a group of settlers who engaged in actions that created an atmosphere of fear in the West Bank. He regularly led groups of settlers from the Meitarim Farm outpost that assaulted Palestinian and Bedouin civilians, threatened them with additional violence if they did not leave their homes, burned their fields, and destroyed their property. Levi and other settlers at Meitarim Farm have repeatedly attacked multiple communities within the West Bank.

In addition to suspending entry into the US of those designated above, the executive order is extensive and includes prohibiting donations or money transfers to the individuals listed.

“As a result of today’s action, and in accordance with the new E.O., all property and interests in property of the designated persons described above that are in the United States or in possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC),” reads Miller’s statement

“Additionally, all entities that are owned, either directly or indirectly, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.” Miller’s statement continued. “All transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC or exempt.”

“These prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person and the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.”

The noticeable difference between these designations when compared to those of sanctions against individuals in Latin American, African, and other Middle-Eastern countries is the option to contest the measures against them. The favoritism shown to what many refer to as a ‘Western colonialist project’ has been at the forefront of the discussion as tens of thousands of civilians are killed in what can only be described as a genocide.

“The power and integrity of U.S. government sanctions derive not only from the U.S. government’s ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law,” reads Miller’s statement. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. Petitions for removal from the SDN List can be sent to Petitioners may also refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Questions 897 here,” his statement concluded.

In a separate statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken added, “Israel must do more to stop violence against civilians in the West Bank and hold accountable those responsible for it.  The United States will continue to take actions to advance the foreign policy objectives of the United States, including the viability of a two-state solution, and is committed to the safety, security, and dignity of Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

Despite the notion that the Biden administration is taking positive action against the undeniable oppression of Palestinians, this is unlikely to affect the war or the attacks in the West Bank.

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Arturo Dominguez

Arturo is an anti-racist political nerd. He is an upcoming author, journalist, advocate for social justice, and a married father of three. He is a top writer on Medium and a regular contributor to several news media outlets. He writes educational and informative material about systemic racism, white supremacy, and racial injustice.

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