The United States is preparing to impose a visa ban on Israeli settlers involved in violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, a senior US State Department official said Friday.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when they met Thursday in Jerusalem that Washington was readying the sanctions, the source said on the condition of anonymity.

The visa ban could be imposed as early as next week, he added, without disclosing the number of individuals who would be affected.

Violence has surged in the West Bank in tandem with a war that erupted between Israel and militant group Hamas in the Gaza Strip nearly eight weeks ago.

According to the Palestinian health ministry in the West Bank - occupied by Israel since 1967 - nearly 240 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers or settlers since October 7.

Blinken, on his third trip to the region since the Gaza war began, urged Israel Thursday to prosecute settlers committing acts of violence against Palestinians.

"We're looking to the Israeli government to take some additional steps to really put a stop to this. And at the same time, we're considering our own steps," he said.

The top US diplomat later travelled to Dubai where he was to attend a meeting of counterparts from several Arab countries on the sidelines of a United Nations climate conference.

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post last month, US President Joe Biden wrote that his administration was prepared to issue visa bans against "extremists attacking civilians in the West Bank".

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