update deskIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

Canada imposes sanctions on ‘settler extremists’

Ottawa backlisted seven individuals and five entities for their alleged role in "facilitating, supporting or financially contributing" to violent acts.

Zionist activist Daniella Weiss takes part in a march to the Evyatar outpost in Samaria, April 10, 2023. Photo by Sraya Diamant/Flash90.
Zionist activist Daniella Weiss takes part in a march to the Evyatar outpost in Samaria, April 10, 2023. Photo by Sraya Diamant/Flash90.

Although official Israeli statistics show acts of so-called “settler violence” have dropped, and Israeli officials have labeled Western media reports of a surge in such violence a “blood libel,” Canada imposed a second round of sanctions on what it termed “perpetrators of extremist settler violence” in Judea and Samaria on June 27.

The sanctions list seven individuals and five entities for their role in “facilitating, supporting or financially contributing” to alleged violent acts by “extremist settlers” against Arabs and their property.

“We remain deeply concerned by extremist settler violence in the West Bank and condemn such acts, not only for the significant impact they have on Palestinian lives, but also for the corrosive impact they have on prospects for lasting peace,” said Mélanie Joly, minister of foreign affairs, in a statement, calling on authorities to “hold perpetrators of such violence accountable.”

The seven individuals are Ben Zion Gopstein, head of the Lehava NGO; former Kedumim Mayor Daniella Weiss; Einan Ben-Nir Amram Tanjil; Elisha Yered; Ely Federman; Meir Mordechai Ettinger; and Shalom Zicherman.

The five entities are the Amana movement; Hilltop Youth, a loosely organized group of religious Zionist youth; the Lehava anti-assimilation NGO; and two outpost communities in the Jordan Valley, Moshe’s Farm and Zvi’s Farm.

Supporters of Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria sharply attacked the Canadian decision.

Israel Gantz, head of the Binyamin Regional Council and chairman of the Yesha Council, said the decision was “scandalous.”

“Canada chooses to give support to terrorism and to Hamas, which seeks to continue slaughtering Jews and [bring about] the elimination of the State of Israel,” he said.

“Those who impose immoral and illegal sanctions against Jewish entities fully share [Hamas leader in Gaza Yahya] Sinwar’s vision and create an existential threat for the State of Israel,” he added.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir of the Otzma Yehudit Party said the Canadian government’s move was a “distinctly antisemitic decision.”

“A sovereign country will not accept dictates from any country, and even more so it will not impose sanctions on its citizens because of political decisions of foreign countries,” he said.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich of the Religious Zionism Party said the sanctions are an “attempt to give a huge reward to terrorism” by forcing Israel to establish a terrorist state in Judea and Samaria.

On May 16, Canada imposed its first round of sanctions against “extremists” in Judea and Samaria. It sanctioned four people: David Chai Chasdai, Yinon Levi, Zvi Bar Yosef and Moshe Sharvit. It claimed they engaged in violence against Arab civilians and their property.

Canada joins the U.S., which has also sanctioned Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, along with other entities, most recently Tzav 9, a group protesting against aid to the Gaza Strip.

U.S. sanctions against Israelis have been criticized by Israeli politicians. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu protested to 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.”

In the period from Oct. 7, 2023 to Feb. 24, 2024, authorities registered 256 incidents of Jews targeting Arabs in the territories.

That compares to more than 2,600 Arab attacks targeting Israelis in Judea and Samaria between Oct. 7 and Jan. 15, including 760 cases of rock-throwing, 551 fire bombings, 12 attempted or successful stabbings and nine vehicular assaults, according to Rescuers Without Borders, a first-responder group.

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