US slaps sanctions on entities that raised funds for West Bank settlers

By Thomson Reuters Apr 19, 2024 | 9:15 AM

By Simon Lewis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on two entities that it said helped raise tens of thousands of dollars for two violent extremists in the West Bank already targeted with U.S. sanctions, the Treasury Department announced in a statement.

Washington had previously sanctioned five settlers and two unauthorized outposts in the West Bank in two rounds of sanctions aimed at punishing ill-behaved Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, where Palestinians envisage a future state.

One entity, Mount Hebron Fund, launched an online fundraising campaign that raised $140,000 for settler Yinon Levi, Treasury said, after he was sanctioned on Feb. 1 for leading a group of settlers that assaulted Palestinian and Bedouin civilians, burned their fields and destroyed their property.

It said the second entity, Shlom Asiraich, raised $31,000 on a crowdfunding website for David Chai Chasdai, who the United States says initiated and led a riot that included setting vehicles and buildings on fire and causing damage to property in Huwara, resulting in the death of a Palestinian civilian.

“Such acts by these organizations undermine the peace, security, and stability of the West Bank. We will continue to use our tools to hold those responsible accountable,” Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo said in the statement.

The Treasury also on Friday designated Ben-Zion Gopstein, founder and leader of the right-wing group Lehava, which opposes Jewish assimilation with non-Jews. Treasury said Lehava’s members “have engaged in violence, including assaults on Palestinian civilians.”

(Reporting by Simon Lewis and David Ljunggren, editing by Susan Heavey and Chizu Nomiyama)