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New Zealand joins U.S., UK in taking action against Israeli settlers

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published February 29,2024

New Zealand on Thursday joined the U.S. and UK in sanctions on several extremist Israeli settlers amid escalating violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

In a statement, Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters announced travel bans on a number of extremist Israeli settlers who have committed violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.

"New Zealand is seriously concerned by the significant increase in extremist violence perpetrated by Israeli settlers against Palestinian populations in recent months. This is particularly destabilising in what is already a major crisis," said Luxon.

Luxon added that his country imposed travel bans on a number of people known to have committed violent acts and that these individuals will not be able to travel to New Zealand.

"New Zealand has taken this step to signal clearly that this behaviour is unacceptable," Peters also said.

"Individuals responsible for perpetrating acts of violence are undermining peace, security and stability in this region.

"Settlements undermine the prospects for a viable two-state solution. Recent statements by some Israeli ministers about plans for further settlement construction are of serious concern and will raise tensions further between Israelis and Palestinians," the foreign minister added.

Earlier this month, the U.S. and UK also imposed sanctions against extremist Israeli settlers amid threatening Palestinians, often at gunpoint, and forcing them off land that is rightfully theirs.

Estimates indicate about 700,000 Israeli settlers live in roughly 300 illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. All Jewish settlements in the occupied territories are considered illegal under international law.

Tensions have been running high across the occupied West Bank since Israel launched a deadly military offensive against the Gaza Strip following the Oct. 7, 2023 Hamas attack.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice over its deadly onslaught on the Gaza Strip, which has left more than 29,900 people dead. In an interim ruling in January, the Hague-based court ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.