Spain to impose sanctions on violent Israeli settlers if no EU deal

By Thomson Reuters Feb 19, 2024 | 7:07 AM

MADRID (Reuters) – Spain will impose sanctions on violent Israeli settlers in the West Bank unilaterally if its European Union partners fail to reach an agreement on the issue, Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said on Monday.

He said Spain, which has also been critical of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, will push for the approval of such sanctions during a meeting of EU’s foreign ministers held in Brussels on Monday.

“If there’s no agreement, Spain will proceed individually with these sanctions against the violent settlers,” Albares told reporters before the meeting.

Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin said earlier on Monday he hoped the EU countries would unanimously approve these sanctions.

Last week, French authorities banned 28 Israeli settlers from entering the country, accusing them of attacking Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

U.N. figures show that daily settler attacks have more than doubled since Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel on Oct. 7 and the ensuing assault on the Palestinian enclave of Gaza.

While international attention has focused on that cross-border assault and Israel’s subsequent war there, European officials have also expressed concern about rising violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro, editing by Andrei Khalip and Barbara Lewis)