The U.S. Embassy in Israel is considering a policy to place certain Israelis on blacklists, making them ineligible for visas to the U.S., if they engaged in violent attacks against Palestinians and regardless of whether they were convicted of such crimes in a court of law.
“In the wake of several violent incidents in which Israelis attacked Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, the U.S. Embassy in Israel is considering blacklisting the alleged perpetrators,” reported Israel Hayom on Dec. 22
In remarks at a U.N. Security Council briefing on the Middle East on Dec. 21, U.S. Ambassador Robert Wood said, “The United States is deeply concerned by the sustained escalation of violence in the West Bank. The heartbreaking death of 16-year-old [Palestinian] Jana Zakarneh is yet another tragic reminder of the human cost of this conflict and the importance of all parties to work to bring about an end to the conflict.”
“In this regard, it is imperative that the parties take urgent action to reduce the troubling levels of extremist violence fueling instability in the West Bank,” said Wood. “The United States expects to see equal treatment of extremists – whether Israeli or Palestinian – in arrests, convictions, and punishments, as well as equal allocation of resources to prevent and investigate violent attacks.”
Israel Hayom said the timing of this new policy consideration may not be coincidental, given that the new Likud Party administration, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, is likely to assume control in the next week or so.
Some of the incoming cabinet ministers have records of violent behavior. Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, for instance, was convicted of “incitement to racism and supporting a terrorist organization,” reported the Jerusalem Post. At age 18, Ben-Gvir was rejected for service in the Israeli Defense Forces because of his extreme political beliefs.
According to Israel Hayom, “It is still not clear how the embassy will determine whether applicants should be blacklisted under the new policy. However, left-wing groups who report on alleged violence by Israelis could potentially become a credible source for the embassy, which in turn, may result in large numbers of settler activists being denied visas upon application.”
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