Canada sanctions ‘extremist’ Israeli settlers

Canada is imposing sanctions on “extremist” Israeli settlers in the West Bank, Global Affairs Canada announced Thursday.

“The sanctions are a response to the grave breach of international peace and security posed by their violent and destabilizing actions against Palestinian civilians and their property in the West Bank,” Global Affairs said in a news release.

Canada is sanctioning four people, the department said: David Chai Chasdai, Yinon Levi, Zvi Bar Yosef and Moshe Sharvit. Global Affairs Canada said the four have engaged in violence against Palestinian civilians and their property.

The four men are among the eight people the U.S. sanctioned earlier this year. Canada’s sanctions come months after Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly first said the government would be imposing them.

The U.S. government also sanctioned the two outposts the settlers have established: Zvi’s Farm, northwest of the West Bank’s main city Ramallah, and Moshe’s Farm in the Jordan Valley. It also sanctioned agricultural enterprises run out of the outposts. Canada has sanctioned only individuals.

“With these measures, we are sending a clear message that acts of extremist settler violence are unacceptable and that perpetrators of such violence will face consequences,” Joly said in a media statement Thursday.

A woman speaks into a microphone.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly speaks to reporters in the foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press)

The United Nations has reported an escalation in settler attacks in the Palestinian territories since the Oct. 7 attacks.

Acts of violence by settlers and moves to dispossess Palestinians of their property were on the rise before the attacks and followed the election of the current Netanyahu government at the end of 2022.

That government is dominated by pro-settler parties and includes a number of West Bank settlers in its cabinet. Prominent members of the government have visited and spoken in support of the outposts where the sanctioned settlers live.

About 4,000 Palestinians were displaced from their land and homes in 2023, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. It’s the highest number recorded in the past 20 years.

“Attacks by extremist Israeli settlers — a long-standing source of tension and conflict in the region — have escalated alarmingly in recent months,” the Global Affairs statement said. “This has undermined the human rights of Palestinians, prospects for a two-state solution and posed significant risks to regional security.”

Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, it is considered a war crime for a country to move its own population into territory occupied in war. Violations of the Geneva Convention are also offences under Canada’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.

Historically, however, little action has been against the more than 700,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank, who include a significant number of Canadian citizens.

Earlier this year, Canada sanctioned nearly a dozen people connected to Hamas’s Oct 7 attack on Israel, including Hamas leaders. It was the first time Canada had imposed individual sanctions on non-state actors.

Source link