Return of the Militias: Why Is Israel Arming Its Citizens? – VIDEO

Israeli far-right minister Itamar Ben-Gvir distributing firearms to militias inside Israel. (Photo: video grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

What kind of guns is this new Israeli militia using? It is still unclear, but far-right minister Ben-Gvir has posted an online video of himself handing out M-16 or M-4 assault rifles.

Israel began as an entity created by militias, or armed gangs. Eventually, they merged, following the 1948 war, or the Nakba, to form the current Israeli armed forces, known as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). 

But following the collapse of the southern front of the Israeli army and intelligence on October 7, it seems that Israel is going back to the age of militias. 

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The Reuters news agency reported on Sunday that “Israel has set up hundreds of volunteer security squads in the two weeks since the Gaza war erupted and is arming them should there be knock-on Jewish-Arab unrest.”

“Israeli police have arrested dozens of Arab citizens on suspicion of incitement and support for Hamas, based on social media posts,” Reuters also reported, citing lawyers for those detained as saying that such measures are designed to stifle dissent regarding the war.

Little attention is paid to what Israel is doing to its Arab minority, estimated at more than 20 percent of the overall population. 

Though always placed under surveillance and treated according to different legal and political standards, the situation is now worsening, as they are increasingly being viewed as the enemy. 

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Although by his own admission, Israeli police chief, Inspector-General Kobi Shabtai, told a parliamentary review panel that “almost zero incidents” have been reported in Arab population centers, they still feel the need to arm Israeli Jewish citizens. 

Minister of National Security Ben-Gvir has “predicted that this war could see a repeat of the 2021 unrest and has ordered an easing of regulations for issuing gun licenses to private citizens,” according to Reuters.

Volunteers with Guns  

But this is not all. Security squads have been established, with armed volunteers patrolling the streets. 

Shabtai said 527 such squads have been created since October 7, and the number keeps growing. 

A total of 40,000 firearms are to be distributed among the squads, according to Reuters. The deputy director of Ben-Gvir’s ministry, “Eliezer Rosenbaum, told lawmakers that 20,000 firearms had been ordered for distribution to such squads, with another 20,000 to follow.”

The volunteers will also have a uniform, jackets, helmets and more. 

What kind of guns is this new Israeli militia currently using? It is still unclear, but far-right minister Ben-Gvir has posted an online video of himself handing out M-16 or M-4 assault rifles.

Now that thousands of Israeli Jewish are joining armed militias, the question that arises is, who will defend Israel’s Arab citizens? 

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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