WASHINGTON - Days after warning the Israeli settlers to avoid wreaking havoc in the West Bank, the Biden administration confirmed imposing visa bans against some of them.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed on Tuesday that the State Department was implementing a new visa restriction policy targeting '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.
The announcement comes a day after the State Department said that Israel has not taken sufficient steps to address settler attacks that prompted the exodus of Palestinians.
“We have underscored to the Israeli government the need to do more to hold accountable extremist settlers who have committed violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank,” Blinken said.
The violence in the West Bank surged after the fresh conflict that began on October 7th and led to the killing of over 15,000 Palestinians.
The US Secretary of State did not announce individual visa bans, but department spokesman Matthew Miller elaborated that the bans would be implemented starting Tuesday and would cover “dozens” of settlers and their families, with more to come.
The official, however, fell short of revealing the number of targeted individuals and their identification due to confidentiality reasons but added that the visa bans do not mean Israel should not take any action against the settlers involved in violence.
The warnings were issued from the highest level and even by President Biden who said Israel must act to stop violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank.
Israeli settler violence has long targeted Palestinian communities in the West Bank but the fresh conflict acted as a catalyst for settlers to suppress the Palestinians.
On the other hand, Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said recently that no one besides Israeli authorities had the right to 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.
Pakistani currency remains largely stable against US dollar in the open market on February 27, 2024 (Tuesday).
In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.4 for buying and 282.3 for selling.
Euro currently stands at 303 for buying and 306 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 351.5 for buying, and 355 for selling.
UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 76.7.
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