(JR) — British Foreign Secretary David Cameron announced that extremist Israeli settlers would be banned from entering the United Kingdom, following a similar announcement by the United States last week.
The ban comes amid a reported increase in settler violence in the West Bank during the Israel-Hamas war, including physical assaults and attacks preventing Palestinians from accessing their own land.
“Extremist settlers, by targeting and killing Palestinian civilians, are undermining security and stability for both Israelis and Palestinians,” Cameron wrote on X. “Israel must take stronger action to stop settler violence and hold the perpetrators accountable. We are banning those responsible for settler violence from entering the UK to make sure our country cannot be a home for people who commit these intimidating acts.”
The announcement comes 10 days after the Biden administration announced that it would bar people who have “been involved in undermining peace, security, or stability in the West Bank” from entering the United States. The ban applies to both Israelis and Palestinians but was directed toward surging violence by settlers.
Since Oct. 7, 271 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank — mostly as the Israeli army carries out operations against suspected terrorists, but at least eight of them by settlers, the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported. U.N. figures show daily settler attacks against Palestinians have nearly doubled since Hamas’ attack on Israel on Oct. 7.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has condemned settler violence and Israeli security forces have arrested and charged some Jewish extremists. But allies or sympathizers of settler extremists are members of his governing coalition, including Itamar Ben-Gvir, the far-right national security minister, who praised the extrajudicial killing of a Palestinian by a settler extremist earlier this year, saying the shooter should receive a medal.
More consequences for extremist settlers in the West Bank could be on the way. On Monday, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said he would propose sanctions against s
“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,” Borrell said.
Borrell also said he would propose a special sanctions program targeting Hamas, which has backing from the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Italy.
The United Kingdom, European Union, and multiple other countries also put out a statement Friday condemning settler violence.
“Israel’s failure to protect Palestinians and prosecute extremist settlers has led to an environment of near complete impunity in which settler violence has reached unprecedented levels. This undermines security in the West Bank and the region and threatens prospects for a lasting peace,” the statement said.
“While we welcomed the Government of Israel’s statement on this issue on 9 November where it conveyed that action would be taken against violent perpetrators, proactive steps must now be taken to ensure the effective and immediate protection of Palestinian communities,” the statement continued. “Words are important, but must now be translated into action.”