France to impose travel bans on violent Israeli settlers

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France will ban 28 Israeli settlers from entering the country, accusing them of attacking Palestinians in the West Bank, its foreign ministry 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.

It did not name the individuals.

Attacks and violence increasing by the day

UN figures show that daily settler attacks have more than doubled since Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and the ensuing operation in Gaza.

While much international attention has focused on that cross-border assault and Israel’s subsequent war there, European officials have also expressed increasing concern about rising violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.

Israeli settlers hurl stones at Palestinians during the annual harvest season near the Israeli settlement of Yitzhar in the West Bank on October 7, 2020. (credit: NASSER ISHTAYEH/FLASH90)

The United States and Britain have expressed similar concerns and have already imposed sanctions on several settlers whom they say are responsible for the violence.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in December that he would also propose similar measures.


Paris has backed that initiative and diplomats have said they hoped that once its measures were in place it could speed up the European process.

A joint statement issued by the French, Polish and German foreign ministers on Monday said settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank was unacceptable and “shall be sanctioned.”

EU efforts have stalled so far due to objections from Hungary and the Czech Republic, diplomats say.

But they say a compromise may be found later to let the measures proceed, possibly after more EU sanctions on Hamas.

“Colonization is illegal under international law and must stop,” the French foreign 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.”

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