Military to collect weapons from settlers

Jan. 14, 2011 at 9:33 AM
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JERUSALEM, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- Improved West Bank conditions and a surge in gun thefts led the Israeli military to reduce the number of weapons available to settlers, an official said.

Israeli military officials said they fear settlers may take the law into their own hands and fire on Palestinians who approach the communities' fence lines, reported Friday.

Jewish settlers in Hebron will be the first affected by the decision, the military said.

Security coordinators in Hebron, South Mount Hebron and Kiryat Arba have been instructed by Col. Guy Hazut, commander of the Judea Brigade, to collect military weapons from the settlers and turn them over to the army.

Settlers said they were enraged by the decision.

"This is a reckless decision which is part of a culture of improvised solutions," a leader of one Jewish community in the area told Tel Aviv newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.

A military official said the Judea and Samaria Division planned to collect weapons in the entire area under its control, not just Hebron, said.

"We must remember that the past two years have seen a significant calm," the official said. "Obviously, we'll return the weapons to the residents if needed, but under supervision."

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