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Liberal Democrat leader says UK should impose sanctions on 2 far-right Israeli ministers

February 29, 2024 at 1:16 pm

Israelis stand next to a poster with the portraits of Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich on March 4, 2023 [JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images]

Britain should impose sanctions on two far-right Israeli ministers who have pushed for more settlements in Occupied Palestinian Territories, said the UK’s Liberal Democrat party leader on Thursday, Anadolu Agency reports.

Ed Davey, who has just returned from a visit to Israel, expressed concern that the prospect of a two-state solution for the Israel-Palestine conflict is in danger of collapsing.

Along with some other nations, the UK has also announced sanctions on some Israeli nationals that it called “extremist settlers” who had violently attacked Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

However, the Liberal Democrat leader said this sanction should be extended to Itamar Ben-Gvir, the National Security Minister in the current Israeli government, and Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich.

“If it’s not checked very, very quickly, it could lead to an escalation in the West Bank,” Davey reported to have said in an article by the Guardian.

He noted that the settlements in the Occupied West Bank are a “massive barrier” to peace and to a two-state solution, adding that he thinks that there is a need to take some “strong action now”.

Earlier this week, Smotrich called for the approval of plans to construct 3,300 new housing units in several illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

Last week, Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, approved recommendations from Ben-Gvir to restrict the entry of Palestinians living in Israel and Jerusalem into the Mmosque during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, due to start next month.

The conflict since 7 October led Israel to launch a harsh crackdown on the West Bank, with at least 412 Palestinians killed and 4,600 injured by Israeli army gunfire in the Occupied Territory, according to the Health Ministry.

Israel launched a deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip following a Hamas attack on 7 October.  The ensuing Israeli bombardment has killed over 30,000 people and injured more than 70,000 with mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

READ: Haniyeh: Israel committing most horrific crimes against Palestinians