Israel Makes Gun Ownership Easy, Issues 3,000 Permits Per Day
The Israel government has relaxed its rules around gun ownership, post Hamas attack on October 7, making it easier for Israelis to own and possess a gun. It is fast-tracking the permit process and speeding up approvals.
Ben Gvir, the National Security Minister, said the ministry has received more than 260,000 new firearm permit requests since October 7. The ministry is approving up to 3,000 permits per day, compared to 100 approvals a day before the Hamas attack.
Gvir promised to hand out 10,000 free weapons, including 4,000 rifles to settlers in the occupied West Bank. The far-right politician said adult civilian residents of the city of Sderot, which was attacked by Hamas, would automatically qualify to buy a gun.
Israel Fortifies West Bank
Noa Sattath, executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said the government’s drive for more guns has skirted the definition of what’s legal. “Laws are not passed through the regular procedure of legislation but are fast-tracked as emergency regulations. So there’s less oversight on them.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the government’s move saying it’s needed. “As soon as you distribute more weapons, things can happen. Such is life.” Israel is looking at deploying heavy weapons (shoulder-fired missiles) to enhance the security of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank. Palestinian media believe this is in preparation for the possibility of an escalation of the situation in the West Bank and the potential storming of the settlements.
Palestinian reports say since the beginning of the war in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank settlements have been fortified with many defensive measures, such as bombs and machine guns, there’s construction work taking place to prevent infiltration. The Israeli Army is also recruiting settlers who have not undergone military service to deploy them as defense militiamen in the settlements they reside.
US Bans West Bank Extremists
The US has taken a hard stand on West Bank settler violence by imposing travel bans on extremists. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States has underscored to the Israeli government the need to do more to hold accountable extremist settlers who have committed violent attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank.
“The State Department is implementing a new visa restriction policy targeting individuals believed to have been involved in undermining peace, security, or stability in the West Bank, including through committing acts of violence or taking other actions that unduly restrict civilians; access to essential services and basic necessities.”
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel is a nation of laws and nobody outside of security forces has the right to use any form of violence. “We can’t act like our enemies, they want to expel us and kill us; we want security for our people, and therefore we can’t use the ways in which they act, and we don’t need others to explain that to us.”