Recipe for disaster as Israel allows more civilians to carry guns

Israeli settlers in the West Bank, including eastern occupied Jerusalem, are already often armed to the teeth.

Issam Rimawi APA images

Israeli minister of public security Yitzhak Aharonovitch approved a measure on Thursday that eases gun restrictions, expanding gun license eligibility to tens of thousands of people who previously did not qualify.

“The decision comes from a need to improve the feeling of safety among the population in light of the recent terror attacks,” said Aharonovitch. 

The new, ostensibly temporary, guidelines will allow certain army unit veterans, officers in the army reserves, former police and Shin Bet (Israeli secret police) officers and former security guards at the Israel Airports Authority to qualify for a gun license.

Because military conscription for Jewish Israelis is compulsory, this constitutes a large portion of the Israeli population.

Recipe for disaster

Combined with the rising tide of anti-Arab extremism in Israeli society, the loosening of gun restrictions is a recipe for disaster.

For weeks right-wing Israeli demonstrators have clamored for more police violence against Palestinians, with some demanding that Arab rock-throwers as young as seven be shot on sight

This type of incitement is not only prevalent, it is alarmingly acceptable. 

As The Electronic Intifada’s Patrick O. Strickland reported last week, an Israeli train driver who agitated for his countrymen to run over Palestinians for “the Jewish Nation” in a Facebook post has faced no real repercussions, and will keep his job.

Similarly, there will be likely be no consequence for the high school math teacher in Ashkelon who sent an image to his students of a Muslim graveyard, captioned: ”In times like these, it’s important to remember there are also good Arabs! And they can be found here.” 

The hate is not isolated to random individuals. Indeed, the Israeli public has been whipped into a racist frenzy by incitement from the top. 

Incitement from the top

Earlier this month, Aharonovitch (the security minister) incited vigilante violence when he applauded the swift police execution of the Palestinian driver responsible for a vehicular attack in Jerusalem on 5 November. 

“The action of the Border Police officer who chased the terrorist and quickly killed him is the right and professional action, and that is the way I would like these incidents to end,” said Aharonovitch. “A terrorist who strikes civilians should be killed.”

Many understood this as a call for police and armed civilians to act as judge, jury and executioner against perceived “terrorists,” which in the Israeli lexicon is interchangeable with “Arabs.”

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel linked Aharonovitch’s incitement to the police murder of 22-year-old Kheir Hamdan days later.

On 9 November, in the Galilee village of Kufr Kana, Israeli police shot Hamdan after he banged on their van with an unidentified object. 

CCTV footage of the killing reveals that the officers shot Hamdan at close range without warning as he ran away, and then shot him again after he was injured and bleeding on the ground, completely contradicting initial police claims that Hamdan attacked an officer with a knife. 

Despite the video evidence, Israel’s economic minister Naftali Bennett celebrated the police shooting, labeling Hamdan a “crazed Arab terrorist.” 

Adalah, the legal center for Arab minority rights, expressed alarm over the “direct connection” between incitement from the top and the behavior of citizens on the ground. 

“The minister [Aharonovitch] stated that anyone who attacks Israeli Jewish citizens should be killed immediately,” said Adalah. “In any democratic society that respects the life of its citizens, any government minister that makes statements such as those by Yitzhak Aharonovich should be immediately dismissed.”

But there is no penalty for inciting against Arabs in Israel, so Aharonovitch has doubled down. 

After inciting vigilantism against a largely defenseless Palestinian population, Aharonovitch is supplying the trigger for Israelis to act on their worst impulses.




We need to arm Palestinians because they need some kind of defense towards those hot headed settlers who think they are Gods gift to man kind! It is bad enough how they attack Palestinian school children imagine what they do if they get more arms?


in the pictures caption it reads "Israeli settlers in the West Bank, including eastern occupied Jerusalem, are already often armed to the teeth. (Issam Rimawi / APA images)". I'm sure no pun was intended but the other man in the picture is holding a puppy. I guess that what " armed to the teeth" implies. Just a little humor for the day


...aaaaaaand no mention whatsoever of the brutal murder of four rabbis at prayer in a synogogue in West Jerusalem by Palestinian Arabs armed with meat cleavers and guns. No mention WHATSOEVER. The easing of gun restrictions is in response to this murder. Failing to mention this, whatever side you're on, is disingenuous.

And crocodile tears for the "Palestinian driver responsible for a vehicular attack". A policeman was able to pursue and kill this vicious murderer. What should he have done, let him get away to strike again?


As Naseer H. Aruri eloquently points out, the events above have all been been
agreed to by Israeli, US and Palestinian "leaders". Upon careful study
of the various agreements detailed in Aruri's brief book, many of the above
have already been settled according to Israel's veto with US support.

I would particularly point out "The Wye Memo" under the Bill Clinton
administration. Netanyahu represented Israel. The US agreed to
subsidize the settlers and to the priority not only of Israeli security but
to the security of settlers as well.

If the Palestinians could subdue all of Israel---which in fact has
no "right to exist"--- and against the consistant funding by the US of
Israel both in defense and outside defense per se, I would applaud.

I do not believe this is possible in the forseeable future.

PS. Did you know that Palestinians proposed a single state in 1946?
This was rejected by Israel. (See Michael Prior, THE BIBLE AND

---Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA


Any responsible government would do all in their power to try and curb the violence and not pour oil onto the flames with the sort of incitements we see coming from the Israeli authorities. It is clear this sort of action is aimed at an escalation of the tensions between the two communities and more violence from "the terrorists" to keep the West onside as Israel moves deeper and deeper into Jerusalem with the ultimate aim of claiming the whole city as Jewish. The fact that the Western media only sees Palestinian attacks on Jews but is equivocal (at best) on attacks carried out by Jews gives support to this dangerous escalation, which has the potential to drag us all in.


"Combined with the rising tide of anti-Arab extremism in Israeli society, the loosening of gun restrictions is a recipe for disaster."

This is a bunch of rubbish, from an anti-Israel "reporter".

Rania Khalek

Rania Khalek's picture

Rania Khalek is an independent journalist reporting on the underclass and marginalized.