Measures had been considered, and they are now effective. France announced that it had adopted “sanctions against extremist Israeli settlers who are guilty of violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank,” the Foreign Affairs and Interior ministries announced on Tuesday in a joint statement. . Twenty-eight people are concerned and targeted “by an administrative ban from French territory”, that is to say they will no longer be able to return to French soil.
Paris also indicates that it is “favorable to the adoption of sanctions at the European level against these violent settlers”. “We are working in this regard with our European partners,” added the Quai d’Orsay and Place Beauvau, which reaffirmed their “firm condemnation of this unacceptable violence” in the West Bank. “It is the responsibility of the Israeli authorities to put an end to it and prosecute their perpetrators,” France once again affirmed.
Colonization “incompatible with the creation of a viable Palestinian state”
With these measures, France therefore follows in the footsteps of the United States. At the beginning of February, American President Joe Biden sanctioned four Israeli settlers who will be banned from staying in the United States. “These actions compromise the foreign policy objectives of the United States, including that of a two-state solution” for Israel and Palestine, Joe Biden said at the time. This Tuesday, Paris also considers that colonization – “illegal under international law” – “is incompatible with the creation of a viable Palestinian state”.
According to the United Nations agency responsible for humanitarian coordination (Ocha), the number of violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank in 2023 exploded after Hamas attacks against Israel on October 7. Some 1,200 incidents of this type took place last year, according to Ocha. According to the Israeli human rights NGO Yesh Din, 242 acts of violence were committed by Israelis against Palestinians in the West Bank between October 7 and the end of 2023. As of February 1, the Palestinian Authority spoke for his part of at least 364 Palestinians killed since October 7 by Israeli soldiers or settlers in the West Bank.
More than 2.9 million Palestinians live in the occupied West Bank, separated from the Gaza Strip by Israeli territory. Around 490,000 Israelis also live there, in settlements deemed illegal under international law.