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Israel to expand use of firearms among settlers

Israeli occupying authorities are planning to increase the ownership of firearms amongst Jewish settlers in an effort to confront alleged attacks by Palestinians, according to the Palestinian Information Centre.

Minister of Public Security Gilad Erdan is campaigning for an expansion in the system that would allow more settlers, particularly those who spent their military service in combat units, greater access to guns and rifles in order to confront "lone wolf attacks" from Palestinians.

This would enable Israelis who are militarily trained to shoot Palestinians under the pretext that they were possibly going to commit an attack.

Read: Settlers harass and attack a number of Palestinian shepherds

Firearms are already prevalent among settlers; former high ranking army officials are permitted to carry weaponry and summer camps in Israel have also been known to teach children as young as ten how to use rifles.

Government officials have often encouraged settlers who have legal weapons to carry them in public and, in 2015, encouraged Israelis to shoot rather than arrest suspect Palestinians, a statement widely criticised by Israeli human rights groups.

Israel has often been accused of perpetuating a gun culture by allowing Jewish residents to act with impunity in using firearms, a trend that Palestinians have called "incitement".

A 2015 poll found that over half of Israeli citizens support the extrajudicial killings of Palestinians accused of attacks on the spot, even after their arrest. A report by Human Rights Watch earlier this year also found that senior military officers have been promoting such a practice on the ground, irrespective of whether the Palestinians pose a threat to life.

Read: Israel settlers beat Palestinian teen in Nablus

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