Widening Mideast Crisis: Israel Suggests Military Could Advance on Southern Area Crowded With Civilians


The United States issued financial sanctions on Thursday against four Israelis accused of escalating violence against civilians, intimidating civilians or destroying property in the West Bank.

“The United States has consistently opposed actions that undermine stability in the West Bank and the prospects of peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement.

Here’s what we know about the four, all men ranging in age from 21 to 32.

David Chai Chasdai, 29

Mr. Chasdai initiated and led a riot on the Palestinian town of Huwara, the State Department said in a statement, which resulted in the death of a Palestinian civilian. The New York Times reported on a rampage in Huwara and neighboring villages on Feb. 26, 2023, that started after two settlers were shot and killed. Israeli settlers burned and vandalized homes, businesses and vehicles, and one Palestinian was killed.

Reached by phone on Friday, Mr. Chasdai’s mother, Dafna Hasdai, dismissed the impact of the sanctions, saying the family doesn’t have relatives in the United States, and said the “whole thing is a joke.”

After the Huwara violence, Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defense minister, initially signed an administrative detention warrant — a policy of indefinite imprisonment without trial that Israel almost exclusively uses against Palestinians — for Mr. Chasdai in March 2023, according to the Israeli news media. A few days later, an Israeli court later shortened his detention by a month.

In 2013, Mr. Chasdai was detained for assaulting a taxi driver, according to an Israeli legal database. He was represented in court by Itamar Ben-Gvir, a lawyer and politician who now serves as Israel’s minister of national security. The court decided not to extend Mr. Chasdai’s detention, as requested by police, citing a lack of evidence.

Yinon Levi, 31

Mr. Levi led a group of settlers who “engaged in actions creating an atmosphere of fear in the West Bank,” according to the State Department statement, and has joined other settlers in repeatedly attacking Palestinian communities in the West Bank.

The State Department said he was from Meitarim Farm, an illegal Israeli settlement in the south West Bank.

“He regularly led groups of settlers from the Meitarim Farm outpost that assaulted Palestinian and Bedouin civilians, threatened them with additional violence if they did not leave their homes, burned their fields, and destroyed their property,” the statement said.

Mr. Levi did not respond to phone calls on Friday.

Einan Tanjil, 21

Mr. Tanjil was described by the State Department as being involved with “assaulting Palestinian farmers and Israeli activists by attacking them with stones and clubs, resulting in injuries that required medical treatment.” He could not immediately be reached for comment.

He was charged in 2021 with assaulting an Israeli activist, Neta Ben Porat, a high-tech sector worker and mother of three, according to a Facebook post by Mehazkim, an Israeli center-left political page.

The post said that Mr. Tanjil was charged with hitting her in the head and legs with a club when she and other Israeli pro-Palestinian rights activists were helping Palestinian farmers harvest olives near Surif, a Palestinian town in the West Bank.

Shalom Zicherman, 32

Mr. Zicherman assaulted Israeli activists and their vehicles in the West Bank, the State Department said, citing video evidence. He cornered at least two of the activists and injured them both, the statement added.

Mr. Zicherman threw stones at the vehicle of Israeli left-wing activists outside the Palestinian area of Masfar Yata, injuring one of them and breaking the car’s window, according to a video filmed by an activist.

A lawyer for Mr. Zicherman said he would not comment on the sanctions.



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