US announces visa bans after warning Israel over West Bank violence

US announces visa bans after warning Israel over West Bank violence
A Palestinian woman waiting to cross Qalandia checkpoint between West Bank and Jerusalem, to attend the first Friday prayer of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s old city, 24 March 2023. Women of all ages, children up to the age of 12, and men older than 55 from the West Bank will be allowed to enter Jerusalem to attend Friday prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque without existing permissions, Israeli military announced. EPA-EFE/ATEF SAFADI

The US on Tuesday began imposing visa bans on people involved in violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Washington officials said, after several appeals for Israel to do more prevent violence by Jewish settlers.

A new State Department visa restriction policy targets “individuals believed to have been involved in undermining peace, security, or stability in the West Bank, including through committing acts of violence or taking other actions that unduly restrict civilians’ access to essential services and basic necessities,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement.

President Joe Biden and other senior US officials have warned repeatedly that Israel must act to stop violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank. Attacks there have surged in recent months as Jewish settlements have expanded, and then spiked again since the October 7 Hamas attacks on Israel.

Blinken made clear to Israeli officials during a visit last week that “they need to do more to stop extremist violence against Palestinians, and hold those responsible for it accountable,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters in a press briefing after the announcement.

Palestinian leaders must also do more to curb Palestinian attacks against Israelis in the West Bank, he added.

The first bans under the new policy would be imposed on Tuesday and more designations will be made in the coming days, Miller said.

“We expect ultimately for this action to impact dozens of individuals and potentially their family members,” Miller said, adding that any Israeli with an existing US visa who was targeted would be notified that their visa was revoked.

Since a 1967 Middle East war, Israel has occupied the West Bank, which Palestinians want as the core of an independent state. It has built Jewish settlements there that most countries deem illegal. Israel disputes this and cites historical and biblical ties to the land.

Asked about settler violence in a news conference on Tuesday, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said no one besides Israeli authorities had the right use violence.

“Israel is a state of law. The right to use violence belongs only to those who are certified to do so by the government,” he said.

Read the latest: Israel-Palestine War

Miller said Israel had taken some steps to hold people responsible for the West Bank violence, like putting them in administrative detention, but US officials believe they should be prosecuted.

Washington’s move on Tuesday “does not obviate the need for the government of Israel to take its own actions and we will continue to be clear with them about it,” he said.

(Reporting by Simon Lewis and Daphne Psaledakis; additional reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Emily Rose and Rami Ayyub; Editing by Doina Chiacu, Franklin Paul and David Gregorio)


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Anton Lamberti says:

    Getting uppity at the bottom of the food chain while feeding the top with large amounts of money arms and ammunition. Hmmm wonders if they shouldn’t have started long ago on Israeli West bank atrocities, why now? After freedom fighters abseiled over the wall in desperation to end these acts and the 17year incarceration of Palestinians in Gaza and Israeli anexation of the West bank? After Israelis murder more than fifteen thousand innocent Palestinians since October?

    They’re now worried about the actions of settlers in the West bank?

    Has Biden lost his marbles one wonders. Shakes head in triple sadness that Trump even has a fighting chance of becoming President again too.

    • Dave Jacobs says:

      Referring to Hamas as ‘freedom fighters’ is problematic, especially considering their history and actions. On October 7th, when they scaled the walls of Gaza, their stated goal might have been to combat Israeli oppression. However, the tactics they chose tell a different story. True freedom fighters uphold certain ethical standards, notably avoiding harm to civilians, and especially protecting vulnerable groups like women and children. However, Hamas has repeatedly engaged in actions that directly target these groups. Such tactics cross a line, transforming them from potential freedom fighters into perpetrators of indiscriminate violence. This includes not only murder but also heinous acts of rape and torture. These actions are inexcusable and stand in stark contrast to the principles of legitimate resistance. They fall under the category of terrorism, according to international definitions and norms, and should be universally condemned.

      • Penny Philip says:

        ‘True freedom fighters uphold certain ethical standards’? I don’t think the Irgun & Lehi got that memo when they were bombing & kidnapping (& executing) British soldiers. David Ben Gurion’s own directive to the Haganah was to clear Arab villages & take the land by any means necessary. Israel cannot seem to grasp that every bombing that kills more Palestinians breeds another generation of people filled with bitterness & hate.

      • Ben Harper says:

        Hamas’ stated objective is to wipe Israel and the Jews off the face of the earth, they are not now nor have ever been “freedom fighters”

        • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

          Ben, I’m not sure these semantics matter. Jews / Israeli’s are judged by a different standard by our critics. Whether we fight a bona fide sovereign state’s army, a guerilla force or terrorists – our critics don’t grant us the existential permission or right to even enter the fray in the first place. Therefore, we should not seek, let alone covet it. These things, and these critics, are meaningless to us.

          • John P says:

            Oh come now. We are all judged by our critics, sometimes unfairly and sometimes for good reason. The trick I feel is to look at both sides before deciding you are automatically right.

        • Stand For Truth says:

          Regretfully the idf is currently wiping the Palestinians off the face of Gaza

      • Stand For Truth says:

        Does Hamas have a right to defend itself?
        The naqba stole the Palestinian peoples land.
        How would you classify “tactics used” by the isreal government killing women and children as, genocide, extermination, murder ?

    • Geoff Coles says:

      I would not call those killed in Gaza as all innocent, many were terrorist scum. The info comes from Hamas too!
      Biden does seem to be not up to anything much, l9sing his Marbles as you say, and Trump another oddity who sho7ld retire. America deserves better.

      • Stand For Truth says:

        9000 women and children are not innocent?

      • Louise Wilkins says:

        There are simply too many people killed to generalise them as mostly terrorists. The majority just want to be left alone to live their lives. I hate to say this but you sound brainwashed.

        • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

          Louise no civilised person celebrates the death of another, or should see a death toll as a scorecard. Let’s be clear about that.

          Similarly, your opinion about “the majority just want to be left alone to live their lives”, is simply that – your opinion. Unfortunately, the actions of Palestinians have not supported this opinion of yours. Today you have access to information at your fingertips – there is plenty of data to independently verify that over 75% of Palestinians support Hamas, and their actions of October 7.

  • Denise Smit says:

    This article does not paint the comlete unbiased picture. A pity DM takes this stance

    • John P says:

      This article does not paint a picture at all, it is essentially a collection of statements from American officials. It is not a “stance” taken by DM.

    • Ed Rybicki says:

      WHAT “complete, unbiased picture”?? Illegal Israeli settlers routinely harass and attack West Bank Palestinians, often with the protection of the IDF – and this is OK? There’s another side? Nonsense!

    • Stand For Truth says:

      What is your view of a complete and unbiased view of things?
      Journalist integrity would be offering differing views based on research

  • Geoff Coles says:

    A misleading headline, but going for innocent ‘family members’ seems wholly wrong.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    This is a meaningless action by the US regime that is complicit in the Israeli crimes against the Palestinians. Nobody should take the US seriously on this issue as they are not even saying how they are going to identify these racist murderers. What ought to happen is for Palestinians to even reject their cynical aid when they are giving the Israel military the arms to kill them and to reduce Gaza to rubble they rather starve to death rather than to accept USAID that is dripping with their blood. The cruelty of the Americans knows no bounds and they are not even ashamed to say that they are going to be giving aid to people that they are helping in their murder and visiting misery on them through destruction of homes, infrastructure, hospitals, schools, electricity and the humanity of Palestinians. They are the worst terrorists in the world.
    The statement by Genocide Joe Biden is meaningless as the statements by the blank Blinken and this has no meaning at all. Unless they are telling us that they know the identities of these criminals that Israel is not bringing to justice and this brings us to the question of what they are going to be doing against Israel that has failed but aided and abetted these people?

  • Fuad XXX says:

    Dear Mr President, Mr Joe Biden, after watching the 4 Corners/Australian documentary regarding the Palestinian Children being brutalized at the hands of the Israeli Security Forces & the Criminal Settlers, I cannot understand why the American support against the Palestinian children. It is the South African Apartheid we endured multiplied many, many, many, times over. My question is how could you as a consciences World Leader turn a blind eye to this obvious evil war crime, perpetuated in the name of the American people against mostly teenagers & women? Do you not feel sick to your stomach? Imagine treating future citizens, leaders & importantly woman (the bedrock of any civilized culture) in this manner. Surely it is time to leash your attack dog(s) & cut the billions of dollars in American backing of this Evil Criminal Zionist Apartheid State. A solution would be to prosecute the criminals, beginning with the Israeli prime minister, NOW! Even the grunts that follow criminal orders should be prosecuted, following orders is not an excuse in fact it highlights the deranged mentality of the Israeli security forces wanting to hide behind orders. I will publish my full letter elsewhere.

    • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

      The President says to tell you thank you for the letter. Like all of them, he takes the time to carefully read all these correspondences and cares deeply about your opinion.

      Yours sincerely, your buddy Joe

  • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

    Does anybody even know the extent of these so-called “violent” / “extremist” “settlers”? Outside of the usual hyperbole by the pro-Palestine lobby that wants to show “good jews” coming to their rallies, the extent of these guys is a few dozen, at the very most. The USA has recently implemented a visa waiver program (ESTA) for Israeli citizens, and this “ban for settlers” is a red herring to placate the pro-Palestine lobby. This is being widely reported and discussed in the Israeli media (which is broad-based). Of this – the world invents a story, as if there are marauding mobs of settlers in the West Bank dispensing mob justice on poor innocent West Bank women and children in their villages, and soon it will be appropriating the word “pogroms”. Maybe there are one or two isolated incidents of hot-headed idiots that go about with their bussies with bravado and threaten, not unlike your common garden variety anti-Israel counter-protester in Seapoint.

    • Fuad XXX says:

      The settlers are on illegal stolen land period. Never forget that.

      • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

        Fuad XXX with your excellent adult movie name – exactly who did they steal it from?

      • Enver Klein says:

        @Fuad XXX, “where ignorance is bliss, tis folly to be wise”.
        Most of the Pro-Israel commentators here unconditionally believe the IDF/ Israeli narrative and won’t even consider other opinions, e.g. the opinions of the journalists of The Grayzone. The Haaretz initially dismissed Grayzone reporting as ‘conspiracy’, but later retracted and confirmed Grayzone reporting that showed Israel killed its own festivalgoers. Grayzone reporting highlighted that some of the “rape” victim images that Elkayam, the chair of the Israel’s investigative committee presented as “rape” evidence, were actually old images of dead female Kurdish fighters from 2022.

        • John P says:

          Enver regretfully most comments on any of these Israel vs Gaza news articles are made by people who are passionately on one side or the other. Furthermore “evidence” of both sides’ untruths and propaganda is freely available from the internet and quoted over and over to “prove” a point. We therefore need to double check statements made and information provided before passing judgement.

          • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

            Although I am probably one of the subjects of your sceptic lens here John, I agree with the advice you are giving. I also believe that generally the frequency of hyperbole and emotion is usually inversely proportional to the facts. However, when we start getting into denialism (like the Holocaust) or conspiracy theories (like Israel / Jews were responsible for Oct 7 or 9/11) – I’d hope that most people recognise these for what they are without having to fact-check them, and rather simply ignore the idiots who post such nonsense.

          • Enver Klein says:

            @John P, I get you point and would like to clarify:
            1. My posts are based on what I’ve sourced from Max Blumenthal amongst other Jewish journalists and I would appreciate any reason as to why I should question his credibility.
            2. I was under the impression that The Haaretz was a very credible Israeli publication, and will also appreciate any reason as to why it’s not.
            3. I attended the Sea Point Pro-Israel demonstration as an onlooker and have my own video of how Dan Marcelo antagonised the Pro-Palestinian demonstrators, before the chaos ensued, but Mordechai denies that happened, I wonder why.

    • Stand For Truth says:

      The foundational events of the Nakba took place during and shortly after the 1948 Palestine war, including 78% of Mandatory Palestine being declared as Israel, the expulsion and flight of 700,000 Palestinians, the related depopulation and destruction of over 500 Palestinian villages by Zionist militias and later the Israeli army and subsequent geographical erasure, the denial of the Palestinian right of return, the creation of permanent Palestinian refugees, and the “shattering of Palestinian society”.

      • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

        “Nakba” has become the most actively performed ritual of the Palestinian myth, assuring essential support of the West and provoking the hatred that has been aroused throughout the Muslim world. Each year it revives a flurry of literature, or to put it more crudely, a lie.

        For the objective reader who is looking for a well-written, excellently researched academic piece with impeccable sources, set out in layman’s terms, giving a through overview of this context 9and most likely all wars in Israel) – read Prof. Shmuel Trigano “Deconstructing the Three Stages of the Nakba Myth”, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Strategic Alliances for a Secure, Connected, and Prosperous Region (

        • Stand For Truth says:

          Probably a good book for Nakba denialist.
          Wikipedia is a reputable source of unbiased information

          • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

            It’s not a book. It’s a published piece of academia, together with impeccable sources, available online from a leading independent research institute.

            On the other hand – I presume you understand how Wikipedia works?

  • Stand For Truth says:

    Why is genocide Joe so supportive of facist benjamin, risking a re election and going against 93% of UN voting?
    With age comes wisdom and experience except those with arrogance and stubbornness.
    It has been reported that Joe disagreed with Obama on how to handle Benjamin, Biden insisted that by supporting Benjamin he can control him.
    The Gaza war has proven him wrong, Benjamin is not protecting civilians, as requested by Joe. Benjamin has criminal cases and a very low approval rating amongst his people, for him it is about self interest.
    Joe is in a difficult position now, he will loose face by withdrawing support and admit he was wrong.
    He rather be complicit in enabling a genocide.
    Arrogance leads to stupidity!!
    Denying west Bank settlers a visa while enabling 9000 women and children to be killed by the Idf?
    Beyond hypocrisy

    • Louise Wilkins says:

      I agree with most of your comments.
      My take is:
      Both sides have a point.
      Both sides are at fault.
      Both sides need to stop.

      • Stand For Truth says:

        Yes Louise, the killings has to stop.
        Hammas has stated they willing to release all hostages if there is a ceasefire,the Isreal government has rejected the offer.
        Leaves one to wonder what are the objectives and end game of the right wing war cabinet. The disproportionate reaction of killing 9000 women and children, bombing hospitals, cutting of water electricity and food.
        What are there objectives and end game? The official statements are farcical by saying too eradicate Hammas, how do you an army that has no base and is not visable. There are many more extremists organisations,besides Hamad fighting the Isreal army.
        A plausible explanation is too make Gaza un-liveable by destroying the infrastructure and hope the Palestinians leave. The more extreme view stated by an ex cabinet minister is to nuke Gaza

        the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group.
        Oxford dictionary

  • dexter m says:

    PR exercise .totally meaningless . This is more for US domestic consumption. If was true change of policy would have listed names of individuals and groups . Which would be a problem because some of them are also US citizens , do not need a visa. Also majority of funding for settlements are US Jewish groups and financing by US banks.

  • Alley Cat says:

    Every action taken by every American administration is informed by the strong Jewish / Israeli lobby in America. They are shit scared of losing those voters and mostly wealthy donors. This is what they call democracy!
    And now you have Muslim / Arab voters in the US saying they won’t vote for Biden? So who then? The orange messiah? He is even more pro-Israeli than the rest of them.

    • Stand For Truth says:

      Biden has self confessed Zionist
      Wonder what he ment?

    • dexter m says:

      Trump only pro Trump. Remember how Clinton won , Ross Perot took away voters from HW Bush same could happen here 3rd party candidates.( Trump knows this he belonged to Perot’s party) . Here comes the 2nd Trump term. Biden not so worried about muslim voters , it is young voters ( 19 to 35) that may stay home . Without them he cannot win.

      • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

        Dexter, as a person I normally find nothing to agree with – I actually agree with absolutely everything you say here.

        I’d go further and say that the Democrats would do well to look outside of Biden (perhaps Newsom?), to have any chance of preventing a President Trump 2.0

      • Stand For Truth says:

        Dexter, the Muslim vote is less thank 1%, and would have little effect.
        70% of Americans disapprove of Bidens handling of the Gaza war.
        The large turnouts for pro Palestinian marches by mainly young voters has to have an effect on his chances for re election. CNN a pro isreali network had changed its tone and are questioning the hypocrisy and lies of the isreali stance.
        Hopefully the democratic party nominates another candidate…1 year in politics is a long time

        • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

          The “70% of Americans disapprove of Bidens handling of the Gaza war” and the so-called “large turnouts for pro Palestinian marches” does not translate into good news for your cause, I do hope you understand:

          First – around 50% of the US electorate is Republican. Sorry, there’s around 0% pro-Palestinian sentiment there. So that’s 50% of your 70%.
          Next – the crowds at these marches are being seen as anti-American, rather than pro-anything. Guess how that plays to the silent majority in (the very patriotic) middle America ? Trump is so savvy – he will be all over that.
          Finally – “CNN a pro isreali network”?? Plot lost.

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