The Government of Israel has announced plans to make it easier for Israelis to get firearms amid escalating violence in the occupied Palestinian territory.
Following a meeting of his security cabinet, which was attended by hardline MPs, late on Saturday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the action in response to two gunshots, one of which occurred in occupied East Jerusalem.
Africa Today News, New York reports that on the Friday shooting outside the East Jerusalem synagogue, seven people died.
‘We deploy forces, we increase forces, and we do it in different arenas,’ Netanyahu said on Saturday.
He promised to expedite gun permits for Israeli citizens and to step up efforts to collect ‘illegal weapons’.
The homes of the suspected assailants would also be sealed immediately ahead of demolition, he said, “in order to exact an additional price from those who support terrorism”.
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His office later said social security benefits for the families of attackers will also be cancelled.
In addition, it promised new steps to ‘strengthen’ illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank but gave no details.
The weekend shootings took place towards the end of a month of growing confrontation and follow an Israeli raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin that killed nine Palestinians and exchanges of fire between Israel and Gaza. In all, Israeli forces have killed 32 Palestinians this month.
A spokesperson for the Israeli military said an additional battalion had been sent to the occupied West Bank for reinforcement.
Analysts in Israel said Netanyahu was under pressure from hardliners in his cabinet, including National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir.
The government in Israel is the most right-wing in Israeli history.
Ben-Gvir, who had pushed for more gun permits, said on Saturday that he would also push for the death penalty against “terrorists”.
He said the security cabinet’s new measures were “important”, but that he wanted a ‘lot more’.
‘Itamar Ben-Gvir has a reputation of being a fireman and now Netanyahu is giving him a full container of oil,” said Akiva Eldar, a contributor to the Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz. “I am afraid that Netanyahu’s hands are tied. Between two evils, he has to decide which side he takes, and I am afraid that there is no responsible adult in his cabinet that can stop him,’ Eldar told reporters.
The latest measures on Saturday were announced as tens of thousands of protesters also gathered in the city of Tel Aviv to protest separate plans by Netanyahu’s government, which took office in December, to overhaul the country’s judicial system and weaken the Israeli Supreme Court.
The marchers also held a moment of silence in memory of the Jerusalem shooting victims.
The increasing violence has meanwhile raised questions about a third Palestinian uprising.