Israel promises Biden M-16s won’t go to civilian security in Judea and Samaria – report

The White House has condemned Jewish violence against Palestinians while terror attempts have shot up in the region.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In order to receive American weapons for local defense teams, Israel has promised the White House that assault rifles purchased from the U.S. will not be passed on to the civilian emergency teams in Judean and Samarian communities, Axios reported Monday.

The IDF ordered tens of thousands of M16s from American companies in the last few weeks to help equip its troops in the war against Hamas, which began October 7 after the terror organization invaded Gaza envelope communities en masse and massacred 1,400 people, the vast majority of them civilians.

The rider on the sale came as Palestinians accused Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria of taking advantage of the war in Gaza to attack Arab towns in Judea and Samaria. They have even claimed that eight Palestinians have been killed by “settler militias.”

In one case where a Palestinian was killed, Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan described the incident as one in which a family was attacked by “dozens of wild Hamas supporters” throwing rocks, when an off-duty soldier fired his weapon in an act of self-defense.

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President Joe Biden has spoken out against alleged Jewish retaliatory attacks, saying this was “pouring gasoline” on an already flammable situation.

“It has to stop. They have to be held accountable. It has to stop now,” Biden said two weeks ago at a press conference.

He also raised the issue with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a phone call ten days ago.

More recently, on Sunday after Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, a State Department spokesman said one of the subjects they discussed was “the need to stop extremist violence against Palestinians” in “the West Bank.”

Jerusalem agreed to the condition, Jessica Lewis, the assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, told the media outlet.

“We received assurances from the Israelis that these rifles will only go to Israeli national police-controlled units,” she said.

At least some of the civilian first responders are also volunteers with the police’s Border Guard units.

The Israeli activist group Torat Lechima ascribed dark motives to the limitation, which it rejected unequivocally.

“If the news is true, this is a national disgrace, and a knife in the back in time of war,” said the organization, which aims to improve Israel’s security by strengthening the Jewish fighting spirit of the army.

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“It turns out that the antisemitic campaign [touting] ‘settler violence,’ which is entirely intended to provide cover for the Nazi Arabs who support Hamas in the heart of our country, is going up a level: that of surrendering to antisemitic elements in the US government,” it continued.

“If there is a major lesson from the historic failure that echoes in the Gaza Strip, beyond the conclusion that our strength is in our unity, it is that the emergency preparedness units must be armed and well trained.”

While Palestinian terrorist attacks have been common in Judea and Samaria for decades, amid a surge in terror attacks following Hamas’ surprise attack, National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir requested that local response teams across the country be given greater access to firearms.

Israeli forces have arrested over 1,350 wanted terrorists since the October 7th massacres, of whom 850 are affiliated with Hamas.

Three days after the war began, Ben-Gvir announced that 4,000 assault rifles, along with protective gear, had been bought from Israeli companies and would be distributed to security teams, especially in areas at high risk of Arab-Israeli clashes.

In late October, the minister posted photos on social media of his passing out rifles to security teams in Ashkelon, Bnei Brak and Elad and said that his ministry had ordered 20,000 weapons from American defense companies.

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It is seemingly this commercial order that raised alarm bells in Washington. Most weapons sales are coordinated by the two countries’ defense departments.