Israel is mulling relaxing gun rules that will allow up to 40,000 more people to get weapons, the local media reports. Gun-lobbying politicians hope the measure will help ordinary citizens to neutralize “terrorists.”
The Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan proposed to allow any Israeli citizen who passed rifle training in the IDF to apply for a gun license, Tel-Aviv-based daily Haartez reported. According to the paper, the required level of training for the license will be equivalent to the one of an IDF combat infantry soldier.
If introduced, the measure will be a win for Israel’s gun lobby that had been fighting to lower the bar for gun ownership in order to help regular citizens defend themselves during terror attacks.
“Sending the citizens of Israel to protect themselves with pizza trays, selfie sticks, guitars and umbrellas is a crime of the state against its citizens,” politician Amir Ohana, who leads the gun lobby caucus in the nation’s parliament told Haaretz.
“A law abiding citizen, who has the basic skill required, is entitled to be able to defend himself and his surroundings.”
Ohana, who belongs to the ruling Likud party, suggested that an armed civilian “is more of a solution than a threat”, as he “doubles as assistance for the security forces.” He pointed out that “in 11 attacks in just the Jerusalem area” civilians “neutralized the threat.”
Relaxing the gun laws was previously proposed in 2016 after several cases of fed-up civilians confronting Islamic jihadists hell-bent on killing Jews.
During a stabbing spree in Jaffa that year, which left a US tourist dead and 10 people wounded, a man stunned the Palestinian attacker by hitting him in the head with an acoustic guitar. The same day a different assailant targeted a shop in Petah Tikva, but one of the victims managed to stab the attacker with his own knife, killing him.
Currently citizens need to have a specified reason to obtain guns, such as living in the West Bank or working in a hazardous environment.
In recent years, the authorities have been trying to promote gun ownership among the Israeli settlers in the West Bank, including providing firearms training to children. Such measures were criticized by pro-Palestine groups who said they encourage violence against the Palestinian population.
“There has been a worrying trend to use firearms to kill Palestinians who have attacked Israelis or are suspected of such attacks,” Israeli rights watchdog B’Tselem wrote in 2015 in a joint statement with the local branch of Amnesty International and few other NGOs. It added that such incidents are “raising concern that the chosen response to such persons is the harshest possible, with lethal or – at the very least – unnecessary consequences.”
In the absence of law enforcement, violence by Palestinians against Israeli settlers has become a “part of daily life” in the West Bank.
Israel is experiencing heightened tensions at the Gaza Strip border where barbaric Palestinians have been staging massive riots against Israel reclaiming their land since late March. The protests led to many clashes with the IDF, in which over 100 Palestinians were killed.
Recently, it was reported that Hezbollah has perhaps 120,000 missiles in Lebanon, more than enough to swamp Israel’s “Iron Dome” and other defenses. They are embedded in approximately 200 Shi’ite villages in Lebanon’s south. That makes it difficult for the Israeli Army to attack missile launchers without killing a large number of Shi’ite civilians who provide an enormous human shield.
But if Israel perceives the missiles as an existential threat, it will “bomb Lebanon back to the stone age,” as Transportation Minister Israel Katz said in February. Casualties would be in tens of thousands.
Hezbollah is Iran’s ally and to a great extent its creation, but an Israeli counterattack might mean the end of the Shi’ite community in Lebanon with catastrophic casualty levels – what one Israeli analyst described as “a Dresden,” referring to the destruction of the German city by firestorm during the Second World War.
Israel won’t take the risk of war unless it is faced with an immediate existential threat, and Iran is unlikely to present one. Iran’s strategy centers on building capacity in Syria to attack Israel via proxies. A former Israeli national security adviser, General Yaakov Amidror, told the Times of Israel May 8,
“Iran is in the process of building a war machine in Syria, and we are determined to prevent it from materializing on the ground. We made a huge mistake in Lebanon. We let Hezbollah amass 120,000 missiles in Lebanon. We will not make the same mistake in Syria.”
Mr Americana, Overpasses News Desk
July 9th, 2018