France sanctions 28 Israeli settlers over West Bank violence


France has announced sanctions against 28 Israeli settlers whom it accused of committing human rights abuses against Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank.

The 28 individuals would be banned from entering France, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.

“These measures come as violence perpetrated by settlers against the Palestinian population has increased in recent months. France reaffirms its firm condemnation of this unacceptable violence,” the ministry said in a statement.

On Monday, the French, Polish and German foreign ministers issued a joint statement, saying violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank was unacceptable and “shall be sanctioned”.

France said it would also seek sanctions at the European level.

“Colonisation is illegal under international law and must stop,” the ministry said.

“Its continuation is incompatible with the creation of a viable Palestinian state, which is the only solution so that Israelis and Palestinians can live, side by side, in peace and security.”

France’s decision comes on the back of similar sanctions by the United States and the United Kingdom, which have expressed concerns about settler violence and the rise of attacks on Palestinians.

On Monday, British Foreign Secretary David Cameron announced the sanctions on four Israeli nationals accused of attacking Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

“Extremist Israeli settlers are threatening Palestinians, often at gunpoint, and forcing them off land that is rightfully theirs,” Cameron 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.”

The United Nations has recorded more than 516 settler attacks against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since October 7, when Israel launched an assault on Gaza after the Palestinian group Hamas carried out attacks on southern Israel.

At least 1,139 people were killed in the Hamas attack, according to an Al Jazeera tally based on official Israeli figures.

At least 28,473 people have been killed in Israel’s intense bombardments and ground offensive in Gaza, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.

Raids by Israeli soldiers and settlers on West Bank towns and villages have increased since the outbreak of the war on Gaza, killing hundreds of Palestinians.

Settler attacks often take place with Israeli security forces standing by or joining