Josep Borrell
Josep BorrellReuters

European Union (EU) foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday he would propose sanctions against “Jewish settlers” responsible for violence against Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria, Reuters reported.

Borrell was speaking after EU foreign ministers debated possible next steps in their response to the Middle East crisis triggered by Hamas' deadly Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

Borrell said he would propose a special sanctions program to target Hamas - backed by the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Italy - but stated that the EU also had to act against “violent Israeli settlers.”

"The time has come to move from words to actions... and to start adopting the measures we can take with regard to the acts of violence against the Palestinian population in the West Bank," Borrell told reporters after the meeting in Brussels, according to Reuters.

Borrell said the ministers had not yet shown the unanimous support that would be necessary to pass such a measure, but stressed he had not yet submitted a formal proposal.

Borell did not say what the sanctions would entail but EU officials have said they would involve bans on travel to the EU.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken last week announced a visa ban on "extremist settlers" who are accused of attacking Palestinian Arabs in Judea and Samaria.

“We have underscored to the Israeli government the need to do more to hold accountable extremist settlers who have committed violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank,” Blinken said. “As President Biden has repeatedly said, those attacks are unacceptable.”

He continued, “Today, the State Department is implementing a new visa restriction policy targeting individuals believed to have been involved in undermining peace, security or stability in the West Bank, including through committing acts of violence or taking other actions that unduly restrict civilians’ access to essential services and basic necessities.”

“Immediate family members of such persons also may be subject to these restrictions,” he noted.

A day after Blinken’s announcement, Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo announced that “extremist settlers” will be banned from entering Belgium.

“Violence against civilians will have consequences. Extremist settlers in the West Bank will be banned from entering Belgium,” he wrote on X.

“We will work with the US on sanctions targeting individuals involved in actions that undermine peace, security, and stability in the West Bank,” added De Croo.