Canada sanctions target more Israeli settlers

Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Melanie Joly holds joint press conference with her counterpart Tobias Billstrom (not seen) after their meeting at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Stockholm, Sweden on May 29, 2024. [Getty]

Canada on Thursday announced a new round of sanctions against Israeli settlers for “extremist violence” against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank.

This comes just one month after the first ever sanctions by Canada against settlers were rolled out in lockstep with Britain, France, the European Union and the United States.

This round Ottawa listed seven individuals and five organizations “for their role in facilitating, supporting or financially contributing to acts of violence by Israeli extremist settlers against Palestinian civilians and their property,” said a statement.

They include veteran settler activist Daniella Weiss, Ben Zion Gopstein, and the Amana association, which lobbies for and builds West Bank settlements and outposts. 

Ben-Zion Gopstein, founder and leader of the right-wing group Lehava, opposes Jewish assimilation with non-Jews.

Also listed are Elisha Yered, who has justified killing Palestinians on religious grounds, and Shalom Zicherman, who the US State Department this year said had assaulted Israeli activists and their vehicles in the West Bank.

The measures prohibit dealings related to the individuals and render them inadmissible to Canada, the foreign ministry said. Ottawa imposed sanctions on four settlers last month. 

Ottawa said attacks by settlers have resulted in the deaths of Palestinians and damage to property and farmlands, as well as the forced displacement of Palestinian communities.

“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,” Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said in a statement.

The sanctions include a ban on transactions with the settlers or their organizations and on their entry into Canada.

Israel has occupied the West Bank, home to three million Palestinians, since 1967 and around 490,000 Israeli settlers live there in communities considered illegal under international law.

Violence had already surged before the war in Gaza broke out on October 7. Since then it has escalated to levels unseen in about two decades.

At least 553 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank by Israeli troops or settlers since the Gaza war broke out, according to Palestinian officials.

Attacks by Palestinians have killed at least 15 Israelis, including soldiers, in the West Bank over the same period, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

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