President Joe Biden warned in an op-ed Saturday that he’s “prepared” to issue visa bans against “extremist” Israeli settlers who’ve been attacking Palestinians in the West Bank.
“I have been emphatic with Israel’s leaders that extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank must stop and that those committing the violence must be held accountable,” he wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post.
“The United States is prepared to take our own steps, including issuing visa bans against extremists attacking civilians in the West Bank,” he added.
The world looks to us to solve the problems of our time, @potus writes in a guest opinion.
— Washington Post Opinions (@PostOpinions) November 18, 2023
The op-ed was published two days after CBS News ran a report about how Israeli settlers have been attacking Palestinians in the West Bank and seizing their land.
“The Ministry of Health in the West Bank says almost 200 Palestinians have been killed in the territory since Oct. 7, and the United Nations humanitarian relief agency OCHA says almost 1,150 people have been displaced from their homes there due to settler violence and land access restrictions,” the report reads.
“Among those displaced are around 400 men, women and children from ethnic Bedouin families in the village of Wadi Al Seeq, according to Abu Basher, an elder from the community of Arab herders. He shared cellphone video … that appears to show armed settlers forcing him and others to leave at gunpoint at the end of October,” it continues.
“People were bleeding, and women and children were screaming,” Basher said. “I was terrified my wife and children would be slaughtered.”
He added that the extremist settlers destroyed their properties, including their homes and their school, and also stole possessions, including livestock.
Video recorded by an Israeli soldier shows a fellow soldier throwing a stun grenade inside a mosque in Budrus, in the occupied West Bank
Israeli troops and illegal settlers have killed at least 206 Palestinians and wounded 2,700 others in the occupied West Bank since October 7 pic.twitter.com/w03SjDkgK0
— TRT World (@trtworld) November 18, 2023
“I am so depressed. All my hard work over the past 48 years…all gone. I still haven’t processed the shock… I have lost all hope,” Basher continued.
Activists trying to help the Bedouins have also faced attacks. Take Mohammed Mattar, an activist who was kidnapped, stripped naked, and then beaten by settlers.
“After that we were in a state of collapse,” he said. “Then someone started to pee on us. That’s when I started screaming.”
He also claims that Israeli soldiers took part in the abuse.
“An Israeli military commander has since been dismissed and an investigation opened, according to the Israel Defense Forces. The settlers even bragged about it, posting an image on social media showing the bruised men blindfolded with their hands bound,” CBS News notes.
“The settlers believe if you’re Arab… they can do anything they want,” Mattar said. “They can take your blood, your money, your women… anything.”
He doesn’t appear to be wrong. The New Yorker recently interviewed Daniella Weiss, a West Bank settler and activist who, the paper claimed, “thinks human rights should not be considered universal.”
New Interview: I talked to Daniella Weiss, a West Bank settler and activist, about how her religious views shape her view of the conflict, why she thinks human rights should not be considered universal, and her movement’s extreme plans for the region. https://t.co/YwDBWcXGNo pic.twitter.com/JnaekpMXay
— Isaac Chotiner (@IChotiner) November 11, 2023
“[I]n the seventy-five years since independence, the Arabs in the state of Israel and the Arab members of the Knesset showed in every possible way that their idea is to establish a Palestinian state. They are not working for the interests of the state of Israel,” she said.
“So I think the Arabs in Judea and Samaria have no right to ask for rights or take part in elections for the Knesset. They lost their right to vote for the Knesset. They will never get this right. They will have their own Palestinian Authority where they can run their civilian affairs in a logical way, but not as members of the Knesset,” she added.
Dovetailing back to the president’s op-ed, in it he also called for a two-state solution.
“This much is clear: A two-state solution is the only way to ensure the long-term security of both the Israeli and Palestinian people. Though right now it may seem like that future has never been further away, this crisis has made it more imperative than ever,” he wrote.
“A two-state solution — two peoples living side by side with equal measures of freedom, opportunity and dignity — is where the road to peace must lead. Reaching it will take commitments from Israelis and Palestinians, as well as from the United States and our allies and partners. That work must start now,” he added.
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