The United States should impose harsh sanctions against Israel in order to prevent the regime in Tel Aviv from annexing the Palestinian lands, an American writer and journalist says.

Wayne Madsen, an author and columnist specializing in intelligence and international affairs, made the remarks in an interview with reporters.

He was commenting on a report which says the US government will adopt a tougher tone with Israel over its expansion of illegal settlements, Palestinian house demolitions and property seizures on the occupied Palestinian territories.

The US and its fellow Middle East mediators will focus on a surge of construction in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem), diplomats told The Associated Press.

Madsen said the United States should back up its criticism of Israel’s settlement policy with harsh sanctions and other measures.

“The United States, its concerns -- while they’re welcomed -- need to be backed up by strong measures.  The US should adopt the same policy as it has done with other countries whether right or wrong, and I am not agreeing with the sanctions that the US has placed on Iran and Russia for example, but it needs to apply those same sanctions against Israel,” he said.

“There should be visa bans applied to any Israel [regime] official or business that is involved in the annexation of land in the [occupied] West Bank, and the Golan Heights,” he stated.  

“The US should drastically curtail its military aid to Israel, and it should stop right now sending any sort of military hardware to the Israelis,” he added.

“And if that doesn’t work, then the US needs to take additional measures, and that might includes setting up a US embassy in Ramallah that would show the Israelis there is a line in the sand that’s been drawn and they are not [supposed to] cross it,” the analyst noted.

“And, there also could be financial sanctions imposed by the United States on Israel, and that would include freezing Israeli assets held in United States banks,” concluded Madsen, the author of the blog Wayne Madsen Report.

The presence and continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine has created a major obstacle for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds.

The United Nations, the United States and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.

High-ranking US officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, have repeatedly said that all Israeli settlements on the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal, but have never taken any concrete measures to punish the regime in Tel Aviv over its annexation of Palestinian lands.