With the alarming rise in the death toll in the Occupied West Bank, the US has sought reassurance from Israel that American rifles are not being used by illegal settlers to terrorise Palestinians.
The Biden administration has approved the sale of 24,000 assault rifles to arm the Israeli police and military operating in the West Bank, amid escalating settler violence and rising concern that Israelis are using the bombardment on Gaza as a pretext to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from the Territory.
Emboldened, also, by the new far-right Benjamin Netanyahu government, Zionist militias armed by minsters are terrorising Palestinian villages, assaulting civilians and vandalising homes and shops. The US has come under sharp criticism with claims that it is directly enabling Israel’s campaign of terror, not only in what many have called “ a textbook case of genocide” in Gaza but also in enabling pogroms in the West Bank.
The US has finally sought reassurance from Israel that arms provided by Washington will not end up in the hands of Israeli settlers. “We received a commitment from the Israelis that these weapons will only end up in the hands of Israeli police units,” White House National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, is reported as saying. “The US State Department did its homework and this is the commitment we received.”
Last month, Israeli National Security Minister, Ben-Gvir, distributed assault rifles to illegal Israeli settlers in the Occupied West Bank. This came after Ben-Gvir announced that his Ministry had bought 10,000 rifles to arm settler militias.
It remains unclear how US rifles will be prevented from ending up in the hands of settlers terrorising Palestinians. The administration of President Joe Biden has been sending mixed messages. While it seeks reassurances from Israel on the issue of arming settlers, the US is seeking to hide arms deal with the apartheid state. Washington is also debating sending $14bn in additional aid to Israel.
According to the UN, settler attacks have skyrocketed since 7 October, as extremist mobs roam the West Bank, unchecked. Palestinian villages endure waves of vicious assaults, with settlers swarming homes and cars. Entire communities now flee their ancestral lands permanently, warned they will be killed if they return.
Moreover, Israel’s merciless bombing of Gaza, which has killed over 10,000 Palestinians with full US support, has further emboldened settlers in their long-held aspiration to ethnically cleanse Palestinians.