US President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Thursday declaring a national emergency that allows him to implement new measures to combat settler violence, including sanctions concurrently announced against four Israeli extremists who carried out acts of violence in the West Bank.
The action is the furthest that any administration has taken to address the phenomenon, which has persisted despite repeated US warnings for Israel to address it, including after a series of first-of-their-kind visa restrictions were announced in December. The announcement also comes amid growing heat Biden has been feeling from progressive Democrats over his continued support for Israel in the war against Hamas and his opposition to a permanent ceasefire.
Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich went further, accusing Biden of making common cause with antisemites and legitimizing attacks on Israeli settlers.
“The ‘settler violence’ campaign is an antisemitic lie that enemies of Israel disseminate with the goal of smearing the pioneering settlers and settlement enterprise and to harm them and thus smear the entire State of Israel,” Smotrich said.
This is the craziest thing I have ever seen-how can we dicate to Israel unless there are things we don’t know.