US-Israel relations

Report: Biden administration considered imposing sanctions on Israel

With tensions between Netanyahu and Biden at an all-time high, it was reported that last month the US administration considered imposing a significant package of sanctions on Israel.

Joe Biden (Photo: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The Wall Street Journal reported today (Thursday) that the Biden administration considered imposing personal sanctions on ministers Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich.

According to the report, the Biden administration considered producing a legislative package in addition to sanctions on the senior ministers, which would also include marking Israeli products from the Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria and defining the settlements as a violation of international law.

In fact, the package included a policy change from the Trump era, during which the former President passed two pro-Israel resolutions. The first of which was to mark all Israeli products created in Judea and Samaria as "Made in Israel," and the second cancelled the definition of Jewish settlements as a violation of international law.

In the end, Biden's proposal was rejected and the US government decided to impose sanctions on only four settlers.

The report also states that in recent weeks officials in the American administration have been looking at additional ways to pressure Netanyahu, but Biden was not ready to use the most powerful tool in his arsenal: the cessation of arms sales to Israel and rejected any talk on the issue.

The current report adds to already-boiling tensions between Washington and Jerusalem following the publication of a Washington Post article this morning according to which the Biden administration is working together with Saudi Arabia and Qatar on a comprehensive, long-term peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians that includes, among other things, the withdrawal of all Israeli settlements and the establishment of a Palestinian capital in East Jerusalem.

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