Alwaght- The US and Britain that over the past five months have spared no moment to support the Israeli crimes in Gaza are now taking a humanitarian gesture and trying to paint themselves as the protectors of the Palestinian rights with some token measures.
While the international community in its efforts focus on end of the genocide in Gaza, Washington and London are addressing marginal issues instead of checking the Israeli massacre machine.
In this regard, in reaction to continuation of violence and killing of the Palestinians in the West Bank, the British Foreign Ministry on Monday sanctioned four radical Israelis for their violation of human rights. According to a statement, Moshe Sharvit, Yanon Levy, Ely Feferman, and Zvi Bar Yusef were added to the British blacklist.
Sharvit is accused of persecuting and attacking Palestinian shepherds and their families. Levy displaced Palestinians through physical violence and property destruction. Federman has been involved in numerous incidents against Palestinian shepherds, and Yousef threatened Palestinian families with weapons, according to the statement.
According to the ministry, their assets in Britain will be frozen and British companies and citizens will be banned from doing business with them. They also are banned from travel to Britain.
Announcing the move, Foreign Secretary David Cameron said the sanctions “place restrictions on those involved in some of the most egregious abuses of human rights.”
“We should be clear about what is happening here,” he said, adding: “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 should take stronger measures and stop settler violence. Extremist settlers undermine security and stability by attacking the Palestinian civilians.”
The statement added that “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 US,too, had taken similar measures a week earlier. The US Department of Treasury stated that four extremist settlers, named Shalom Zicherman, Chai Chasdai Yenon Levy, and Inan Tanjil were blacklisted. The sanctions freeze their assets in the US and ban them from entry to the US.
“Israel must do more to stop violence against civilians in the West Bank and hold accountable those responsible,” part of a statement by Department of State read citing Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Senior American officials announced that these Israeli actions pose a serious threat to peace, security, and stability in the West Bank, Israel, and Middle East and set up roadblocks ahead of establishing an independent Palestinian state.
Although sanctioning extremist Israeli settlers by the Western countries that provide all-out support to the Israeli crimes in Gaza is a step forward, this Western move is far from capable of making a deterrence against the Israeli genocide in Gaza.
The Israeli settlers since the beginning of war found a golden opportunity to pursue their ambitions in the West Bank, and using gun violence with support from the hardline government of Benjamin Netanyahu, they have helped the army against the Palestinians and seized their assets in various parts of the West Bank.
These violent measures went so far that some Western countries finally had to react, asking Netanyahu government to take measures to stop settlers’ violence.
Not only did the American warnings not deter the settlers, but also Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir approved the law of distribution of weapons among the settlers under self-defense excuses, a move that inflamed tensions in the West Bank.
Ben-Gvir, who is identified as the godfather of the extremist settlers in attacks against the Palestinians, reacted strongly to the American sanctions, saying: “The time has come for America to reconsider its policies towards the West Bank. Biden is wrong about the heroic settlers, and it is the settlers who are under attack.” He even went farther, asking the settlers to attack children and women.
In recent years, extremist settlers have repeatedly attacked the yards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and participated in the controversial ‘flags march’, fanning the flames of tensions with the Palestinians in the West Bank.
Extremist settlers have been targeting Palestinians everywhere in the West Bank in recent months, and some reports maintain that many of them are in the streets with military uniforms and disguises, and it is difficult to distinguish them from the security forces. Even in the attack of armed men on the Ibn Sina hospital in Jenin, where three Palestinian youths were killed, the role of the settlers who attacked the hospital wearing the uniform of the National Guard was clear.
The US and Britain, which have been under public and international community’s pressure over the past four months for their intensive support to the Israeli regime, are trying through sanctioning a number of Israeli citizens to insinuate that they do not support every Israeli action, and they are ready to sanction them if the need arises.
In recent weeks, the US President Joe Biden’s administration has pressured Netanyahu’s to agree to the ceasefire agreement in Gaza. But since the Israeli extremists are against stopping the war, by applying these largely superficial and symbolic sanctions, the White House wants to send a message to Netanyahu and his cabal that they should rein in the settlers in the West Bank and prevent expansion of war across the occupied territories.
Washington and London sanction a number of insignificant citizens while over the past five months of war they have offered Israel a leeway to massacre the Palestinians by providing it will weapons and a diplomatic cover at the UN. These measures have drawn waves of global reactions against Washington and London. Through these measures, thus, the American and British leaders want to clear themselves from the charges of complicity to the war on Gaza, genocide, and mass destruction of the Palestinian homes.
If the Biden government is really serious about punishing the extremists, it should sanction the leaders of these groups, namely Netanyahu and Ben-Gvir, who are the cause of the war in Gaza and the West Bank.
The US and Britain chose only seven names out of thousands of settlers who openly commit crimes everyday, while there are thousands of people from the far-right who have been involved in killing the Palestinians, destroying houses and burning farms in the West Bank in recent decades, but these crimes have been overlooked by White House leaders.
The Biden administration’s move cannot be taken seriously as it comes seven decades late and the Americans have paved the way for settlement with their silence to Israeli expansionism.
Despite the ostensible opposition of the Westerners to the settlement projects, some of them provide the construction material for them and in a way support them.
The US and Europe know well that the settlements are illegal and arresting the Palestinians and displacing them from their houses is a violation of the international laws. Still, they take no measures to deter them.
If Washington is concerned about violation of the human rights, it should implement Leahy Law that bans arms exports, military training, and logistics support to foreign security units and armies suspected of violating the human rights.
The Muslim members of Congress, like American-Palestinian Rashida Tlaib asked Biden administration to make sure that the law is enforced in arms supplies to Israel, but it seems that Leahy Law does not apply to Tel Aviv as Biden provided more arms to the Israeli army than before since the start of Gaza war and even in the Red Sea headed the campaign of protection of Israeli interests.
The White House on the one hand claims it sanctioned the Israeli settlers in support of the Palestinians, but at the same makes it clear it is against long-term Gaza ceasefire.
With this openly contradictory stances of the two countries, nobody believes the apparently opportunistic American and British stances regarding Gaza genocide despite their sanctioning of a number of Israeli settlers, since as long as Israeli massacre machine is active in Gaza, sanctions against the settlers make no difference to the Palestinian plight.