UK sanctions four Israeli settlers over West Bank violence

The men are accused of threatening families at gunpoint and destroying property

The measures against the Israeli settlers were taken under Britain's Global Human Rights sanctions regime. Getty Images
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The UK has imposed sanctions on four illegal Israeli settlers over acts of violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank including threatening families at gunpoint.

The measures were taken under Britain's Global Human Rights sanctions regime. A government notice identified the perpetrators as Zvi Bar Yosef, Ely Federman, Yinon Levy and Moshe Sharvit.

The US imposed sanctions this month on four other Israeli settlers amid a surge of violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, with UN figures showing 466 have been killed since October 7, following the Hamas attack on southern Israel.

The UK Foreign Office said Mr Sharvit and Mr Levy “have in recent months used physical aggression, threatened families at gunpoint and destroyed property as part of a targeted and calculated effort to displace Palestinian communities”.

One illegal outpost, set up by Mr Bar Yosef, has been described by Palestinian residents as a “source of systematic intimidation and violence”, the Foreign Office added.

The latest sanctions follow the announcement by Foreign Secretary David Cameron in December that the UK plans to ban settlers responsible for violence from entering the UK.

Lord Cameron said the sanctions “place restrictions on those involved in some of the most egregious abuses of human rights”.

"We should be clear about what is happening here. Extremist Israeli settlers are threatening Palestinians, often at gunpoint, and forcing them off land that is rightfully theirs," he said.

“This behaviour is illegal and unacceptable. Israel must also take stronger action and put a stop to settler violence. Too often, we see commitments made and undertakings given but not followed through.

“Extremist settlers, by targeting and attacking Palestinian civilians, are undermining security and stability for both Israelis and Palestinians.”

The UK described Mr Sharvit “as an extremist settler who has threatened, harassed and assaulted Palestinian shepherds and their families in the Jordan Valley”.

In October one community of 20 families fled after he attacked residents and told them they had five hours to leave.

Mr Levy is the leader of Meitarim Farm outpost, which was founded in 2021 and “whose settlers have used physical violence and the destruction of property to displace Palestinian communities, including Zanuta”, also in October.

Settler leader Mr Bar Yosef set up Zvi’s Farm outpost in 2018 and “has used intimidation and violence against local Palestinians, including twice threatening at gunpoint young families having a picnic”, the UK said.

Mr Federman has been “involved in multiple incidents against Palestinian shepherds in the South Hebron Hills”.

One of the settlers sanctioned by the US State Department is accused of initiating and leading a riot that resulted in the death of a Palestinian civilian.

Two others were involved in assaulting Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists, while the fourth settler regularly led groups from the Meitarim Farm outpost that assaulted Palestinian and Bedouin civilians and threatened them.

On Monday, Lord Cameron also said Israel should "stop and think seriously" before taking further action in Rafah in southern Gaza.

He said the British government was "very concerned about what is happening in Rafah" because the city is crammed full of Palestinians, some of whom "have move four, five, six times before getting there".

"It really is impossible to see how you can fight a war among these people, there is nowhere for them to go," he said.

Updated: February 12, 2024, 2:16 PM