Biden signs executive order targeting Jewish settler violence in West Bank

US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order that allows Washington to issue financial sanctions against Jewish settlers in the West Bank who have been accused of acts or threats of violence.

Biden said on Thursday that "the situation in the West Bank -- in particular high levels of extremist settler violence, forced displacement of people and villages, and property destruction -- has reached intolerable levels."

Those targeted will have their assets in the United States frozen and will be barred from dealing with Americans.

The US State Department imposed sanctions on four individuals under the new executive order. It said they were involved in setting vehicles and buildings on fire, assaulting Palestinian civilians, or committing other acts of violence.

In December, the US government announced a visa restriction policy targeting individuals believed to have been involved in violence in the West Bank.

Biden has criticized the violence by Jewish settlers, and directly conveyed his concerns to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, says violence against Palestinians by Jewish settlers has been on the rise in the West Bank since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began in the Gaza Strip last October.