OFAC Sanctions Four Israeli Extremist Settlers Over Violence in the West Bank

February 2, 2024

US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order, “Imposing Certain Sanctions on Persons Undermining Peace, Security, and Stability in the West Bank”. As per the executive order, the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) notified the public that the US government has the authority to enforce sanctions on foreign individuals engaged in actions like threatening the peace, security, and stability in the West Bank.

The sanctions may also be imposed on certain actions affecting the West Bank, such as violence against civilians and property destruction through planning, ordering, directing, or participating.

OFAC has updated the list of specifically designated nationals in the wake of the situation in Palestine and imposed sanctions on four Israeli settlers over violence in the West Bank. The sanctioned individuals include David Chai Chasdai, Einan Tanjil, Yinon Levi, and Shalom Zickerman. As a part of the sanctions, assets owned by these individuals in the US will be frozen and their financial transactions will be restricted.

One day earlier, on February 01, 2024, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued an alert notice addressing the potential financial backing of Israeli extremist settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. The alert gives clear indicators to help US financial institutions (FIs) identify and report suspicious transactions funding such violence.

While addressing the matter, Andrea Gacki, Director at FinCEN reportedly stated,

“Financial institutions can play a critical role in detecting and reporting potential suspicious activity related to the financing of Israeli extremist settler violence,”

She further emphasized,

“The U.S. financial system should be protected from those who seek to support or perpetrate violence and bring further instability to the West Bank.”

The alert highlights the potential role of certain non-profit organizations (NPOs) in facilitating funding for the West Bank violence, FinCEN reportedly stresses that authentic charities should be able to access financial services and can employ transparent channels for funds transfer.

FinCEN urges financial institutions to implement a risk-based approach in fulfilling customer due diligence (CDD) requirements, particularly when establishing risk profiles for charities and non-profit organizations. Just because someone belongs to specific groups such as charities or NPOs doesn’t imply that they are directly involved in unlawful activities and there is no inherent higher risk.

FinCEN further reports that since no warning sign clearly indicates unlawful or suspicious activity, financial institutions are recommended to consider all relevant facts and circumstances before concluding whether a specific transaction is suspicious or linked to Israeli extremists.

Also read: FinCEN Finds Al-Huda Bank as Key Money Laundering Channel & Proposes Anti-Terror Financing Rule