Friday, May 24, 2024

France Warns of Sanctions on Israeli Settlers as West Bank Tensions Escalate

HomeWARFrance Warns of Sanctions on Israeli Settlers as West Bank Tensions Escalate

Amid a powder keg of soaring tensions in the occupied West Bank, France is weighing potential sanctions against extremist Israeli settlers perpetrating vicious attacks on Palestinian civilians, the French president’s office revealed.

In a call with Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Wednesday, President Emmanuel Macron issued a blistering condemnation of recent Israeli moves to expand illegal settlements in the Palestinian territories – moves considered flagrant violations of international law. The two leaders voiced deepening alarm over the calamitous humanitarian fallout unfolding in Gaza, adamantly opposing any potential Israeli military offensive on the teeming Rafah refugee camp, home to 1.5 million Palestinians.

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Macron and King Abdullah urgently called for an immediate, durable ceasefire to facilitate desperately needed humanitarian aid and safeguard civilians tragically caught in the crosshairs. The French leader also reaffirmed that France considers the release of hostages held by Hamas militants an “absolute priority.”

The stern warning from the Élysée Palace comes as violence has spiraled to grotesque levels in the occupied West Bank since the Hamas assault on Israel on October 7 that ignited the devastating Gaza war. A staggering 488 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and marauding settler militias since that date, according to Palestinian authorities.

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In February, amid swelling global outrage over flagrant settler excesses, France took the highly unusual step of blacklisting 28 “extremist Israeli settlers” – barring their entry into the country due to their direct roles in fomenting violence. Just last week, the European Union slapped sanctions on four notoriously brutal Israeli settlers and two militant settler groups for their relentless campaign of terror against Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

The pace of Israel’s remorseless expropriation of Palestinian land has sharply accelerated in 2024, with nearly 1,100 hectares unilaterally seized and designated “state land” since January – more than double the record set in 1999, according to monitoring group Peace Now. These designations give Israel a stranglehold over the seized territories and inevitability mean the land will be indiscriminately denied to Palestinians. An estimated 490,000 Israeli settlers now unlawfully occupy the West Bank alongside 3 million disenfranchised Palestinians.

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With the region edging perilously close to a reigniting a full-blown conflagration, France is brandishing the threat of escalating punitive measures targeting the most unhinged perpetrators of settler violence – in a volatile bid to protect Palestinian lives and uphold the moribund tenets of international law.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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