Canada considering sanctions on violent Israeli settlers in West Bank following US move

Canada considering sanctions on violent Israeli settlers in West Bank following US move
Canada might follow in the US' footsteps by sanctioning Israeli settlers guilty of carrying out violence in the occupied West Bank, PM Justin Trudeau said.
2 min read
03 February, 2024
Justin Trudeau said 'violence in the West Bank is absolutely unacceptable' [Getty/file photo]

Canada is looking at imposing sanctions on "extremist" settlers in the West Bank, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.

The announcement came a day after the US sanctioned four Israelis accused of being involved in violence in the occupied Palestinian territory.

"We are looking into how to make sure that those responsible for extremist violence or extreme settler violence in the West Bank are held to account for it," Trudeau told reporters in Waterloo, Ontario.

"Violence in the West Bank is absolutely unacceptable and puts at risk peace, stability in the region and the path towards the two state solution that is absolutely essential," Trudeau said.

Israel invaded the West Bank in 1967, and has since illegally occupied the territory. Almost 500,000 settlers live in the West Bank.

In the 18 months before Israel's war on Gaza began on October 7, the territory had already seen its highest levels of unrest in decades. Israeli forces stepping up their raids of the territory, killing and arresting Palestinians en masse, while settlers attacked Palestinians with increasing impunity.

More than 300 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since October 7.

Trudeau's comments add to signs of the West's growing displeasure with the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who heads a far-right government. On Thursday, US President Joe Biden issued an executive order that aims to punish violent Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank.

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Britain, the European Union and more than a dozen partner countries including Australia and Canada have called on Israel to take immediate and concrete steps to tackle settler violence in the West Bank.

More than 27,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel's brutal assault on the territory, where hospitals, places of worship, refugee camps, and schools have been targeted.

Trudeau has consistently maintained that Israel has the right to defend itself throughout the war, but has gradually hardened his tone as the civilian death toll in Gaza has mounted.