Judea and Samaria leaders lambasted the Biden administration after the New York Times reported that U.S. officials “fear” the M-16 rifles Israel was going to buy through a State Department transaction would end up with “security squads” comprising civilians in communities beyond the 1967 borders.
According to the report, State Department officials who oversee weapons sales have received “reassurances” that the 24,000 rifles destined to Israel would end up only with the uniformed police force rather than the civilians.
“The American demand not to provide weapons to the squads shows anything but great friendship,” said Shlomo Ne’eman, chairman of the Yesha Council in response.
“Over half a million residents of Judea and Samaria face terror attacks and incitement from mosques to carry out attacks on a daily basis, and just last Thursday, we lost Elhanan Klein, may his memory be a blessing, in a shooting attack,” added Ne’eman.
Klein, 29, a father of three from Einav, was killed last week in a Palestinian attack as he was returning home on a break from IDF reserve duty.
On Tuesday, Israeli forces foiled a terrorist attack at the Qalandiya Crossing near Jerusalem. According to police, a Palestinian woman draped in a Hamas flag and armed with a knife was shot by Israeli security forces after ignoring directives to halt.
Judea and Samaria leaders also say the misconception about what their communities do is a result of the left-wing organizations maligning them abroad.
“At a time when our best men and women are fighting in Gaza, we are subjected to heinous attacks of blood libels against our residents by extreme left-wing organizations such as B’Tselem and Yesh Din,” said Ne’eman.
“Instead of having an airlift for equipping the civilian squads for defense against enemy attacks, they take away our right to defend ourselves and our children. This false and irresponsible campaign may, God forbid, lead to bloodshed,” he added.
Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Regional Council, also addressed the report. “Someone here is confused,” he said. “Residents of Judea and Samaria are in great danger. The concern is that what happened in the south will happen in their communities that are adjacent to the Palestinian villages of the terrorist Palestinian Authority.”
Produced in association with Jewish News Syndicate