Israel to allow Jewish settlers who shoot at Palestinians to keep their guns

Middle East Monitor  /  July 10, 2023

Israeli authorities will no longer confiscate the guns of settlers who shoot at Palestinians under new measures imposed by far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.

Local media reported on Saturday that the minister had agreed with police on the new measures in order to encourage settlers to arm themselves.

According to The Times of Israel, the new policy applies to Jewish settlers who “act in self-defence” against Palestinians accused of terrorist attacks. In such cases, police will examine the firearm at the scene and then return it to the owner.

Previously, Jewish settlers who shot Palestinians would have their weapons confiscated by police at the scene for investigation and be taken in for further questioning, despite rarely facing charges.

It comes after Ben-Gvir approved in May the easing of conditions to obtain firearm licences. According to the Walla news website, former Israeli combat soldiers, police officers, firefighters and active reservists will receive an exemption from personal interviews when applying for a licence.

Doing this, Walla said, will reduce the process to only filing a health declaration and getting a police approval – shortening the bureaucratic process to get the weapons.

The new policy change comes amidst increasing Jewish settler violence against Palestinians and their homes and properties.

Almost 22,000 Jewish Israelis have applied for gun licences in recent months, nearly 18,000 of the applications have been granted.