Yishai. 'My hands are tied'
Photo: Gil Yohanan
Yitzhak and Talia Imes
Photo: Emanuel Maimon

Yishai: Ease weapons laws for settlers

In aftermath of West Bank attacks, interior minister says MKs must work to afford settlers firearms

Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch may reexamine criteria for firearms licenses granted to settlers, Interior Minister Eli Yishai said Tuesday. The latter said he had appealed to Aharonovitch because he could do nothing about the law himself.


"The murder of the four from Beit Hagai was traumatic, a serious incident, but my hands are tied," he told the Knesset's Internal Affairs Committee during a debate on the issue.


"I don't have the ability to change the law – the interior minister doesn't have the authority to grant permits. I appeal to you, members of Knesset, to change the law, or alternatively regulations, because only in this way will it be possible to allow residents of Judea and Samaria to possess weapons to defend themselves."


Meanwhile, Committee Chairman MK David Azoulay (Shas) demanded that settlers be allowed to request a hearing before their weapons licenses are revoked.


"It is entirely possible that Yitzhak Imes could have defended himself and the others who were killed. What happened should set off an alarm – it necessitates self-examination and action," he said.


MK Arieh Eldad (National Union) sparked outrage when he told the committee that "there are officers here with blood on their hands".


Azoulay demanded Eldad withdraw his statement, but was answered, "The statement may be harsh but the blood is harsher. The blood of victims is crying out from the earth."


Eldad was inveighing against a law enforcement task force in Judea and Samaria, headed by Shai Nitzan. Rightists and settlers claim the force confiscates weapons from settlers and does not return them even if they are proven innocent of all charges.


MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union) supported this claim, flinging accusations at the IDF and the State Prosecutor's Office for the oversight.


"Weapons are not a luxury in Judea and Samaria. If Yitzhak Imes, God avenge his death, had fired a shot into the air from the weapon they were supposed to return to him maybe things would be different," he said.



פרסום ראשון: 09.14.10, 14:58
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