Joly says Canada will sanction some ‘extremist’ Israeli settlers, Hamas leaders

Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly says Canada will place sanctions on “extremist” Israeli settlers in the Palestinian territories, as well as Hamas leaders.

In an interview on Rosemary Barton Live that will air Sunday, Joly said the government was “actively working on it” while she takes part in a tour of Ukraine, where she met with Ukrainian officials and visited sites affected by the ongoing war there.

“We will be sanctioning extremist settlers and we will also bring new sanctions on Hamas leaders,” Joly told CBC chief political correspondent Rosemary Barton.

“I’m making sure that while I’m in Ukraine, the work is being done in Ottawa and I look forward to doing announcements soon.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday that Canada was looking into the option of placing restrictions on some Israelis living in illegal settlements in the West Bank

“Settler violence in the West Bank is absolutely unacceptable and puts at risk peace [and] stability in the region, and the path toward the two-state solution that is absolutely essential,” he told reporters following an event in Waterloo, Ont.

Canada would be following in the footsteps of the United States, which this week announced a second round of sanctions against four individuals it accused of inciting and carrying out violence against Palestinians and Israeli peace activists in the West Bank.

“This violence poses a grave threat to peace, security and stability in the West Bank, Israel and the Middle East region, and threatens the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said in a statement.

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Violence in the Palestinian territories has increased since the breakout of war between Israel and Hamas, sparked by the Hamas-led attacks on Oct. 7 where around 1,200 Israelis were killed and around 250 taken hostage. Palestinian health officials say over 26,000 people have been killed in Israeli attacks there in the past almost four months.

Palestinians react during a protest against Israeli settlements near Nablus in the Israeli-occupied West Bank Sept. 15, 2023. (Raneen Sawafta/Reuters)

Joly told Barton that Canada remained dedicated finding a way to end the fighting and work toward a long-term solution.

“First and foremost, we need to get the hostage deal. Hostages need to get back and be released. We need more humanitarian aid in Gaza,” she said.

“And we need to make sure that Hamas lays down its arms. And this is the first step to make sure that eventually we get to a path where we can have a longer truce, a sustainable ceasefire and eventually much more a path towards a two-state solution.”

That prospect has appeared dim during the months of war. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu explicitly stated his rejection of the idea in January, sparking sharp criticism from Canada and allies like the United States. The U.S. state department said this week it is considering options to recognize a Palestinian state in the aftermath of the war.

Joly said change was needed from both sides to make a long-term peace possible.

“We need a reformed Palestinian Authority. We need also to have a government in Israel that is willing to do the important work to get to this two-state solution.”

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