Israeli Army to collect settler weapons: Report

The Israeli army is to begin collecting weapons from Jewish settlers as a result of the calm in the West Bank and over fears they may be used against Palestinians, a newspaper reported.

Last Updated: Jan 14, 2011, 21:15 PM IST

Jerusalem: The Israeli army is to begin
collecting weapons from Jewish settlers as a result of the
calm in the West Bank and over fears they may be used against
Palestinians, a newspaper reported on Friday.

The move would affect hundreds of weapons handed out
to settlers by the army at the start of the second intifada,
or Palestinian uprising, which erupted in September 2000, the
top-selling Yediot Aharonot daily reported.

The Israeli army could not immediately confirm the
report, which said the military directive had already been
passed on to security officers in settlements in and around
the southern city of Hebron.

According to the paper, the decision was taken in
light of the improved security situation in the past two
years, and also due to the growing number of weapons being
stolen from settlements.

But it was also taken over concerns about settlers
taking the law into their own hands and shooting any
Palestinians they perceive as a threat, the paper said,
without citing a source.

When the weapons were first handed out, it was one gun
for every 10 settlers, but in practice, many more were handed
out, it said.

A military source told the paper the Hebron operation
would be repeated across the entire West Bank.

"You have to remember that in the last two years it
has become significantly quieter. Of course, if a need arises,
we will return the weapons to the residents, but with
supervision," the source was quoted as saying.

PTI