France on Tuesday imposed sanctions on dozens of Israeli settlers in the occupied West Bank, accusing them of committing violence against Palestinians. It was one of the largest rounds of sanctions imposed against Israelis in the West Bank to date and follows restrictions imposed by Britain and the United States on four settlers this month.

France’s Foreign Ministry said it had banned 28 settlers from entering France or any of its territories, and called on Israel’s government to take legal action against them.

The French government said settlements in the West Bank were illegal under international law and incompatible with the creation of a Palestinian state, a position held by many nations but disputed by Israel. Israel’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to the statement from the French government, which did not name those subject to sanctions.

Since Oct. 7, when Hamas-led attacks on Israel ignited the war in Gaza, Jewish settlers have accelerated the pace of unauthorized movements to expand their footprint in the West Bank, according to a report last month by Peace Now, a group Israeli defense. .

Settlers have been fencing off open areas in the part of the West Bank that is under full Israeli control to keep out Palestinian herders, the report said, adding that several of the settlers’ outposts and roads are on Palestinian lands in private property, in violation of Israeli laws. law.

The settler invasions have raised tensions in the West Bank, where violence and Israeli military incursions were on the rise even before the war broke out. Palestinian militias have carried out shooting attacks against Israelis. Extremist Israeli settlers have razed Palestinian villages and burned property. The Israeli military has organized frequent, often deadly raids and arrested thousands of people.

Britain on Monday imposed sanctions involving financial and travel restrictions on four Israeli settlers in the West Bank in what it said was an “attempt to address ongoing settler violence that threatens the stability of the West Bank.”

On February 1, the United States imposed financial sanctions on four men it said were linked to the “escalation of violence against civilians in the West Bank.”

The Jerusalem Post reported that Israeli financial institutions had frozen the bank accounts of the four placed men or were in the process of doing so, and that the sanctions could have broader implications if they made international institutions wary that dealings with Israel could involve inadvertently evading sanctions.

Canada has also said it would impose sanctions on Israeli settlers who incite violence in the West Bank.

The coalition government that took power under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in December 2022 is the most right-wing and religiously conservative government in the country’s history. It supports settlement expansion and includes extremist settlers who want to annex part or all of the West Bank. In the past, Israel has retroactively authorized settlements it previously considered illegal.

Most countries consider any settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be a violation of international law. Israel captured the West Bank, as well as East Jerusalem and Gaza, from Jordan in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Palestinians see that land as part of a future independent state, increasingly less viable due to settler expansion.

The settler population grew 3 percent last year to around 517,000, and has grown more than 15 percent in the past five years, according to a report based on Israeli government figures published by a pro-settler group, West Bank Population Stats. .com. By comparison, there are approximately three million Palestinians living in the West Bank, which comprises Samaria and Judea.

By Sam