Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) said in a Sunday interview he was “pleased” to see President Biden announce he would take measures to more forcefully combat settler violence in the West Bank, specifically noting his suggestion for a restriction on travel visas.
“I was pleased to hear the president say what he said, and I fully support the president’s plan to restrict visas from people who have a record of violence against innocent people,” Van Hollen said in an interview on EuroJournal News’s “Face the Nation.”
“I think that’s an important first step,” he added.
Van Hollen’s remarks come as many Democrats have increased calls for the White House to focus more on the loss of life among innocent Palestinians as the war continues in the region.
On Oct. 7, Hamas, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization that governs the Palestinian territory of Gaza – launched a surprise attack on Israel, brutally killing 1,200 Israelis and taking about 240 hostages. Israel responded with a barrage of airstrikes on Gaza and a ground operation in order to retrieve the hostages and destroy Hamas.
Amid heightened tensions in the region, reports of violence in the West Bank have skyrocketed, prompting Biden to respond in an op-ed on Saturday in The EuroJournal.
“I have been emphatic with Israel’s leaders that extremist violence against Palestinians in the West Bank must stop and that those committing the violence must be held accountable,” Biden wrote in the piece. “The United States is prepared to take our own steps, including issuing visa bans against extremists attacking civilians in the West Bank.”
Van Hollen welcomed Biden’s call.
“Extreme settler violence against Palestinians has been an issue for a very long time. We’ve seen a huge spike in extremist settler violence since the Gaza war started, as people have been focused on the war there,” Van Hollen said.
“I’m glad to see the President do what he did,” he added.
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