update deskU.S. News

Biden admin sanctions additional supporters of ‘violent extremists in the West Bank’

The moves are the latest actions against Israelis that the Biden administration accused of “undermining peace, security and stability in the West Bank.”

U.S. Treasury Department. Credit: U.S. Department of the Treasury.
U.S. Treasury Department. Credit: U.S. Department of the Treasury.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced new sanctions on two Israeli charities and an Israeli citizen for supporting “violent extremists in the West Bank” on Friday.

The Mount Hebron Fund and Shlom Asiraich (“The Well-Being of Your Prisoners”) raised the equivalent of $140,000 and $31,000, respectively, in crowdfunding campaigns for Yinon Levi and David Chai Chasdai.

The crowdfunding campaigns were removed from their respective websites, and the funds for Levi were “withheld by a local financial institution,” according to Treasury.

Shlom Asiraich previously raised money for Yigal Amir, who assassinated former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995.

The Biden administration sanctioned Levi and Chasdai in February along with two other Israelis that it accused of engaging in “extremist settler violence” and “undermining peace, security and stability in the West Bank.”

The U.S. State Department added Ben Zion (“Bentzi”) Gopstein to that list on Friday. Gopstein was convicted of incitement to racism by an Israeli court in January.

“The Department of State is today designating Ben Zion Gopstein, the founder and leader of Lehava, an organization whose members have engaged in destabilizing violence affecting the West Bank,” said State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller. “Under Gopstein’s leadership, Lehava and its members have been involved in acts or threats of violence against Palestinians, often targeting sensitive or volatile areas.”

U.S. sanctions against Israelis have been deeply criticized by Israeli politicians, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said he protested to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in February.

“If the U.S. wanted to use it in an equal manner it would have imposed sanctions on hundreds of thousands of Palestinians,” Netanyahu said at a press conference in February. “I told Blinken it is a highly problematic thing.”

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