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Canada sanctions four Israelis over West Bank violence, pledges $65M for humanitarian aid in Gaza

House and vehicles of Ibrahim Dawabsha and his family that were torched during an attack by Israel settlers last month, in the West Bank village of Duma, Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Nasser Nasser / AP Photo) House and vehicles of Ibrahim Dawabsha and his family that were torched during an attack by Israel settlers last month, in the West Bank village of Duma, Tuesday, April 30, 2024. (Nasser Nasser / AP Photo)

Canada on Thursday imposed its first-ever sanctions on what the foreign ministry called "extremist" Israeli settlers in the West Bank, and said Ottawa was weighing additional measures to deter settler violence against Palestinians.

Canada's sanctions, which follow similar measures by allies including the United States and Britain, target four individuals accused of engaging directly or indirectly in violence against Palestinians and their property.

The sanctions prohibit dealings related to the individuals and render them inadmissible to Canada, the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Settler violence in the West Bank is a source of growing concern among Israel's Western allies. The European Union and New Zealand have also imposed sanctions on violent settlers and urged Israel to do more to stop the violence.

"The rise in violence by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank is deeply troubling and poses significant risks to peace and security in the region," Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said in the statement.

"With these measures, we are sending a clear message that acts of extremist settler violence are unacceptable and that perpetrators of such violence will face consequences," she said.

Violence in the Israeli-occupied West Bank was already at a more than 15-year high in 2023 and surged further after Israel's war in the separate enclave of Gaza in response to the Palestinian militant group Hamas' attack on Oct. 7.

Canada has designated Hamas a terrorist organization, and earlier this month imposed sanctions on individuals accused of providing military training and resources to the group.

Canada on Thursday also pledged $65 million for humanitarian aid in Gaza. The funds include a previously announced $25 million for the U.N. Palestinian relief agency UNRWA and an additional $40 million to UNRWA and other aid groups in the region.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Middle East war and the area has been under military occupation since, while Israeli settlements have consistently expanded. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's religious-nationalist government has promoted the settlements, creating friction with Washington.

In February, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington deemed West Bank settlements inconsistent with international law, reverting to a U.S. position that had been overturned by the administration of then-U.S. President Donald Trump.

Most world powers deem the settlements illegal. Israel disputes that, citing historical claims to the West Bank and describing it as a security bulwark. Palestinians envisage the West Bank as part of a future independent state also including Gaza and East Jerusalem.

(Reporting by Ismail Shakil in Ottawa; Editing by Chris Reese and Daniel Wallis)




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