The United Kingdom on Thursday became the first European nation to bar “extremist Israeli settlers” from entering its territories, a week after the United States announced a similar travel ban.
“We are banning those responsible for settler violence from entering the U.K. to make sure our country cannot be a home for people who commit these intimidating acts,” tweeted British Foreign Secretary David Cameron.
“Extremist settlers, by targeting and killing Palestinian civilians, are undermining security and stability for both Israelis and Palestinians,” claimed Cameron, adding: “Israel must take stronger action to stop settler violence and hold the perpetrators accountable.”
Thursday’s brief social media post did not outline the criteria under which Israeli residents of Judea and Samaria would be denied travel to the United Kingdom or address other concerns of due process.
A spokesperson for the U.K. Foreign Office told JNS that, at this stage, London had nothing further to add to Cameron’s announcement.
Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a “visa restriction policy” under which Washington will bar the entry into the United States of those accused of undermining “peace, security or stability in the West Bank.”
Cameron’s move also comes as the 27-member European Union is working on a proposal that would see broad sanctions imposed on “extremist” Israelis from Judea and Samaria.
Following a meeting of European foreign ministers earlier this week, E.U. foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that his office was preparing a “proposal to member states … following the example of the United States and using our general framework to defend human rights.”
The European measures under discussion could involve travel bans, asset freezes and a ban on importing products made by Israeli businesses located beyond the 1949 armistice lines, according to Bloomberg.
Some 13 out of 27 E.U. foreign ministers currently support the proposal, according to the EUobserver website, which cited diplomatic sources in Brussels. One source said that no one spoke out “explicitly against it at this stage.”
On Wednesday, E.U. Commission president Ursula von der Leyen expressed her support for “sanctioning those involved in the attacks in the West Bank.”
“They must be held accountable. This violence has nothing to do with the fight against Hamas and must stop,” the E.U. president charged. “The rise in violence by extremist settlers is inflicting immense suffering on the Palestinians.”
A travel ban would have to be enforced across the European Union’s border-free Schengen area, and it remains to be seen if the necessary unanimity can be achieved.
In the period from the war’s start on Oct. 7 until Nov. 7, the Israel Police registered 97 incidents of illegal activities attributed to Jews in Judea and Samaria, down from 184 offenses in the same period in 2022, according to figures made public in November.
A leaked Israel Defense Forces document also suggests that anti-Arab violence in Judea and Samaria has been dropping.
Meanwhile, in the nine weeks since Hamas launched its cross-border attack, Palestinian terrorists carried out 1,388 attacks in the disputed territories, including 569 cases of rock-throwing, 287 attacks with explosives, 143 Molotov cocktail assaults and 70 terrorist shootings.
During a press briefing on Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister’s Office spokesman Eylon Levy said Jerusalem deplores “all extremist violence wherever that might be.”
“There is a lot of extremist violence inside the West Bank, particularly from the direction of Palestinian terrorists. We deplore all extremist violence. There is no excuse for vigilantism or hooliganism, and we will continue to insist that all extremist violence be dealt with with the full force of the law,” Levy stated.