Saturday, June 15, 2024

Treasury Designates Entities Involved in Raising Funds for Violent Extremists in the West Bank

WASHINGTON — Today, the Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed sanctions on two entities for their roles in establishing fundraising campaigns on behalf of Yinon Levi (Levi) and David Chai Chasdai (Chasdai), two violent extremists who were sanctioned on February 1, 2024 in connection with violence in the West Bank. The fundraising campaigns established by Mount Hebron Fund for Levi and by Shlom Asiraich for Chasdai generated the equivalent of $140,000 and $31,000, respectively.

“Mount Hebron Fund and Shlom Asiraich generated tens of thousands of dollars for extremists responsible for destroying property, assaulting civilians, and violence against Palestinians,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “Such acts by these organizations undermine the peace, security, and stability of the West Bank. We will continue to use our tools to hold those responsible accountable.”

Concurrently, the Department of State is designating Ben-Zion Gopstein, the founder and leader of an organization whose members have engaged in violence, including assaults on Palestinian civilians.

CROWDFUNDING CAMPAIGNS FOR VIOLENT EXTREMISTS

Today, OFAC designated Mount Hebron Fund and Shlom Asiraich for being foreign persons who are responsible for or complicit in, or who have directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, actions — including directing, enacting, implementing, enforcing, or failing to enforce policies — that threaten the peace, security, or stability of the West Bank, and for having materially assisted, sponsored, or provided financial, material, or technological support for, or goods or services to or in support of, persons blocked pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 14115. 

Following the February 1, 2024 designation of Yinon Levi, Mount Hebron Fund established an online fundraiser for the benefit of Levi, who was designated pursuant to E.O. 14115 for being responsible for or complicit in, or for having directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in planning, ordering, otherwise directing, or participating in efforts to place civilians in reasonable fear of violence with the purpose or effect of necessitating a change of residence to avoid such violence, affecting the West Bank. Levi regularly led groups of violent extremists who engaged in actions creating an atmosphere of fear in the West Bank. His groups assaulted Palestinian and Bedouin civilians, threatened them with additional violence if they did not leave their homes, burned their fields, and destroyed their property. Levi and other extremists have repeatedly attacked multiple communities within the West Bank. Mount Hebron Fund’s fundraiser for Levi’s benefit reportedly raised the equivalent of $140,000 before the campaign was removed from the crowdfunding website and funds were withheld by a local financial institution. 

Following the February 1, 2024 designation of David Chai Chasdai, Shlom Asiraich established an online fundraiser for the benefit of Chasdai, who was also designated pursuant to E.O. 14115 for being responsible for or complicit in, or for having directly or indirectly engaged or attempted to engage in, actions — including directing, enacting, implementing, enforcing, or failing to enforce policies — that threaten the peace, security, or stability of the West Bank. Chasdai initiated and led a riot, which involved setting vehicles and buildings on fire, assaulting Palestinian civilians, and causing damage to property in Huwara, which resulted in the death of a Palestinian civilian. Shlom Asiraich’s fundraiser for Chasdai’s benefit reportedly raised the equivalent of $31,000 before it too was removed from the crowdfunding website. Shlom Asiraich’s fundraiser specifically noted that it was raising the money following the imposition of sanctions on, and the administrative detention of, Chasdai. Shlom Asiraich is an Israel-registered non-profit organization based in the West Bank that has also raised funds for other imprisoned violent extremists who share the group’s ideology, including Yigal Amir, who assassinated former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, and Amiram Ben Uliel, who was convicted in 2020 for the killing of a Palestinian couple and their baby in an arson attack in the West Bank village of Duma in 2015.

SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS

As a result of today’s actions, all property and interests in property of the designated persons described above that are in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, individually or in the aggregate, 50 percent or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked. Unless authorized by a general or specific license issued by OFAC, or exempt, OFAC’s regulations generally prohibit all transactions by U.S. persons or within (or transiting) the United States that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons. 

In addition, financial institutions and other persons that engage in certain transactions or activities with the sanctioned entities and individuals may expose themselves to sanctions or be subject to an enforcement action. The prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any designated person, or the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person. 

The power and integrity of OFAC sanctions derive not only from OFAC’s ability to designate and add persons to the Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (SDN) List, but also from its willingness to remove persons from the SDN List consistent with the law. The ultimate goal of sanctions is not to punish, but to bring about a positive change in behavior. 

For information concerning the process for seeking removal from an OFAC list, including the SDN List, please refer to OFAC’s Frequently Asked Question 897 here. For detailed information on the process to submit a request for removal from an OFAC sanctions list, please click here.

Click here for more information on the entities designated today.

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Official news published at https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy2281

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