Republican senators tell Biden to stop ‘anti-settler’ sanctions

The State Department hasn’t acted against the Palestinian Authority, which makes ‘pay to slay’ payments to terrorists for murdering innocent Israeli families.

By Vered Weiss, World Israel News

Nine Republican senators wrote a letter to US President Joe Biden urging him to rescind his policy of imposing sanctions on certain residents of Judea and Samaria and to retract his statements in a memo criticizing Israel’s operations in Gaza.

In early February, Biden announced that the US would issue financial and travel sanctions against Israeli settlers who have been accused of violence against Palestinians.

In addition, Biden issued a memo stating that the US may consider withholding aid from Israel until the administration received “certain assurances” that the IDF was not targeting Palestinian civilians.

The letter was signed by Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas), along with Senators Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), Ted Budd (R-North Carolina), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Bill Hagerty (R-Tennessee), Josh Hawley (R-Missouri), Rick Scott (R-Florida), Katie Britt (R-Alabama), and Deb Fischer (R-Nebraska).

The letter said that Biden’s policy grants “the State Department broad authority to arbitrarily punish Israelis in Judea and Samaria, with no defined standards for determining when sanctions are warranted.”

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It continued, “Under the guise of ‘peace, security, or stability’ … it appears the State Department can punish arbitrarily any Israeli it wants.”

The letter pointed out the hypocrisy of only penalizing Israelis but not similarly sanctioning Palestinians for violence.

“Yet, the State Department hasn’t acted against the Palestinian Authority, which makes “pay to slay” payments to terrorists for murdering innocent Israeli families,” the letter pointed out.

In addition, the letter criticized the State Department for not calling out the Palestinians in light of the violence against Israelis in Judea and Samaria which increased by 350% in 2023.

The letter also criticized a memo in which Biden implies Israel may be violating international law in the current conflict with Hamas.

“Your February 8 memorandum similarly—and falsely—implies that Israel is committing mass war crimes in its campaign against Hamas and threatens to cut off aid unless Israel meets arbitrary deadlines for providing “assurances” regarding international humanitarian law,” the letter said.

It continued, “Yet, we already have rules requiring aid recipients to comply with applicable law and in line with American interests.”

“Moreover, Israel has provided ample evidence of the steps it takes to avoid civilian casualties, which Coordinator for Strategic Communications at the National Security Council, John Kirby, acknowledged publicly,” the letter stated.

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The letter concluded with a demand that President Biden rescind his sanctions against residents of Judea and Samaria as well as his memorandum.

It also urged the President provide details on “the evidentiary basis and processes” used in the decision to sanction Israelis and to provide a full explanation on why the Biden Administration has decided not to also sanction Palestinians for violence against Israelis.