US Sanctions Fundraisers for Extremist West Bank Settlers Who Commit Violence against Palestinians

The US Treasury Department building, June 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP)
The US Treasury Department building, June 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP)
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US Sanctions Fundraisers for Extremist West Bank Settlers Who Commit Violence against Palestinians

The US Treasury Department building, June 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP)
The US Treasury Department building, June 6, 2019, in Washington. (AP)

The Biden administration on Friday imposed sanctions on two entities accused of fundraising for extremist Israel settlers already sanctioned, as well as the founder of an organization whose members regularly assault Palestinians.

The Treasury Department announcement comes as the West Bank has seen some of its worst violence perpetrated by extremist settlers against Palestinians since the war in nearby Gaza began.

There is also friction between President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whose far-right government has reacted angrily to previous sanctions imposed against West Bank settlers.

Included in the Friday sanctions are two entities — Mount Hebron Fund and Shlom Asiraich — accused of raising funds for sanctioned settlers Yinon Levi and David Chai Chasdai.

Both men were previously sanctioned by the Biden administration for violently attacking Palestinians in the West Bank.

The penalties aim to block them from using the US financial system and bar American citizens from dealing with them.

The fundraising campaigns established by Mount Hebron Fund for Levi and by Shlom Asiraich for Chasdai generated the equivalent of $140,000 and $31,000, respectively, according to US Treasury.

In Levi's case, the fund now sanctioned by the Biden administration is linked to the settler council in the area, a body that receives state money. The Biden order Friday stopped short of sanctioning the settler council itself.

Rights groups say that the expansion of illegal settler outposts in the West Bank is enthusiastically supported by the local settler councils and nudged along by Israel’s current national government — the most far-right in the country’s history.

The Biden order also skirted sanctioning crowdfunding websites where funds were raised, GiveChak and New York-based Charidy.

In Chasdai's case, the fundraiser on Charidy was organized by Shlom Asiraich, which raises money for imprisoned Jewish extremists.

Both online fundraisers have now been taken down. But at least one fundraiser linked to a settler previously sanctioned by the Biden administration, Moshe Sharvit, remains online. As of Friday, the page on GiveChak had raised the equivalent of over $879,000.

Additionally, the State Department is designating Ben-Zion Gopstein, the founder and leader of Lehava, an organization whose members have assaulted Palestinian civilians.

Treasury Deputy Secretary Wally Adeyemo said the organizations "undermine the peace, security, and stability of the West Bank. We will continue to use our tools to hold those responsible accountable.”

In February, Biden issued an executive order that targets Israeli settlers in the West Bank who have been accused of attacking Palestinians and Israeli peace activists in the occupied territory.



Yemen's Houthis Say to Escalate Military Operations in Support of Gaza

A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
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Yemen's Houthis Say to Escalate Military Operations in Support of Gaza

A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)
A Houthi military helicopter flies over a cargo ship in the Red Sea. (Reuters)

Yemen's Houthis will continue their military operations and escalate them "in quality and quantity" in support of Palestinians in Israel's war in Gaza, the Iran-backed group's leader Abdulmalik al-Houthi said in a televised speech on Thursday, Reuters reported.

The group have been attacking ships in the Red Sea region since November, forcing shippers to re-route cargo to longer and more expensive journeys around southern Africa.

The group later expanded the scope of its attacks to the Indian Ocean and said it would also target any ships heading towards Israeli ports in the Mediterranean Sea.