Israel disarms Jewish 'settlers'

Wednesday, April 09, 2008 |  by Staff Writer  

Israeli authorities in recent weeks began seizing weapons issued to Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria (the so-called "West Bank") to protect them in case of Palestinian terrorist infiltrations into their communities.

The move comes at the same time that Israel, under US pressure, is fulfilling its latest security gesture to the Palestinian Authority by removing from Judea and Samaria tens of military checkpoints and roadblocks meant to hinder the movement of terrorists.

In a letter this week to the Israeli army commander in charge of the region encompassing Judea and Samaria, Dani Daya, who chairs the council of Jewish communities in the area, expressed shock and deep concern that "these steps are being carried out...at the same time that unprecedented steps are being taken to ease the security restrictions on Palestinians."

Daya and others suggested that the parallel moves appear to have been coordinated to purposely undermine the security of Jews living in Judea and Samaria as the government tries to accelerate plans to surrender the area to the Arabs.

Army officials claimed that the collection effort was launched in response to a handful of break-ins into settlement armories over the past several years that resulted in the theft of a few dozens weapons.

Under the new policy, Ha'aretz reported that the weapons will be redistributed temporarily whenever the authorities determine an escalation of violence is taking place.

A similar seizure of legally issued weapons was conducted among the Jewish residents of Gaza prior to the uprooting of their communities in 2005.

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