President Biden stressed on Saturday that the U.S. is prepared to impose sanctions on Israeli settlers who are involved in attacks against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Why it matters: It is the first time the U.S. has publicly said it was considering individual sanctions against Israeli settlers.

Is there a precedent for the U.S. warning a possible sanction against Israel or Israelis? As you know, Israel is one of the most important American ally, so it was surprising to be that the Biden administration would warn Israel of a possible sanction against it. Did this ever occur in the past? It seems it was the first time it was donr against settlers, but I am wondering if it was done against the government of Israel in the past.

  • 1
    What exactly are you asking? Is there a precedent for the US issuing a warning to sanction a country? Is there a precedent for the US sanctioning an ally?
    – Joe W
    Dec 18, 2023 at 1:28
  • it was surprising to be that the Biden administration would warn Israel of a possible sanction against it - this is not what the quoted paragraphs say: the speak of sanctioning the settlers, i.e., either of individuals or specific communities, but not of the country/state as a whole. Dec 18, 2023 at 6:35

1 Answer 1


Against Israel or Israeli officials I don't know about. But it has happened to at least one Israeli extremist group: Kach.


October 31, 2001 Kahane Chai (KACH)

Kach @ Wiki

The party was ultimately also barred from standing in the 1992 election, and both organisations were banned outright in 1994 by the Israeli cabinet under 1948 anti-terrorism laws,[5] following statements in support of Baruch Goldstein's massacre of 29 Palestinians at the Cave of the Patriarchs (Goldstein himself was a Kach supporter).[6]

Both groups are considered terrorist organisations by Israel,[7] Canada,[8] Japan,[9] and formerly the European Union,[10][11][12] as well as the United States.[13][14] They are believed to have an overlapping core membership of fewer than 100 people,[15][16] with links to the modern party Otzma Yehudit.[17][18]

So, no, imposing sanctions against settler extremists is not unprecedented, though very infrequent. Note that Kach was banned in Israel too. Extended to "Israel" or members of the Israeli government - as in the title - that would be a major, major change for the US, at least since the 70s (it is, IMHO, not very informative to directly compare pre and post 1970 US-Israeli relations).

  • So apart from Israel, there's no precedent? Dec 18, 2023 at 8:57
  • @AhmedTawfik Did you mean Israelis apart from Kach ? I don't know. This was a lazy answer because I knew Kach had been sanctioned so I searched for them by name. Somebody else might know of some. Dec 20, 2023 at 19:34

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