Belgium to deny entry to violent Israeli settlers from occupied West Bank

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgium will deny entry to Israeli settlers from the occupied West Bank involved in violence against Palestinians, vice prime minister Petra De Sutter said on Thursday.

The European Union has condemned the increase in settler violence since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks on Israel and this week the United States began imposing visa bans on people accused of being involved.

“Violent settlers will be denied entry into Belgium and I will be proposing that Belgium advocates for an EU-wide travel ban,” De Sutter said on X.

On Wednesday evening, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo had also said that Belgium will work with the U.S. on sanctions against individuals harming peace in the West Bank.

Since a 1967 Middle East war, Israel has occupied the West Bank, which Palestinians want as the core of an independent state. It has built Jewish settlements there that most countries deem illegal. Israel disputes this and cites historical and biblical ties to the land.

Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said this week that no one besides the government had the right to use violence, and that Israel had taken some steps to hold people responsible for the West Bank violence like administrative detention.

(Reporting by Charlotte Van Campenhout; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)