Last month, Israel’s Minister of National Security, the far-right extremist Itamar Ben-Gvir, sought to ease the process for Israeli civilians to obtain firearms, citing an increase in requests from 2022 and the rise with more recently on Palestinian anti-colonial resistance against the state and settler terror. “It is our duty to speed up the process and shorten the bureaucracy greatly, for our children, for the lives of all of us,” he said.
Ben-Gvir made no reference to Israel’s deadly incursions into Palestinian neighborhoods and refugee camps, nor to the recent massacre of Israeli settlers in Huwara that Israel Defense Forces Major General Yehuda Fuchs called a pogrom. Encouraging more civilian gun ownership reflects the US position. However, in the settler-colonial context of Israel, the dependence on violence cannot be eliminated. Ben-Gvir is well placed to see that the state may not be able to achieve without risking diplomatic consequences, that its illegal Jewish settlers will commit with total impunity.
In fact, the United Nations maintains its position of taking many steps back when it comes to dealing with Israeli colonial violence against the Palestinians. “We know from experience that the proliferation of firearms will increase the risks of Israeli and Palestinian killings and injuries,” said United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk. “The Israeli authorities must work to reduce the availability of firearms in society.”
BLOG: Israel’s new cycles of forcibly displacing Palestinians
Although the proliferation of firearms in the hands of the Israeli settlers is ill for more terror attacks against the Palestinians, Turk’s comment is far from sufficient. Ben-Gvir’s decision is not random, or just a response to the rise of Palestinian resistance against Palestine, but the next step in Israeli colonial violence, complementing what the government is doing on an official level.
Although firearms may pose a danger to the settlers themselves, the number of casualties will be far less than the number of Palestinian victims, since the reason for fast-tracking applications is to use the firearms in against Palestine. Turk’s statement, therefore, speaks of a false equivalence between the colonizer and the colonized, while at the same time neglecting that the Palestinians do not even have an army to protect them, and that the security services of the Palestinian Authority are an extension of the services of Israel, and as that they are involved in colonial violence. In a colonial context where Israeli settlers who murder Palestinians are celebrated as heroes, Turkey should have made it clear that Israel is expanding the parameters of the types of violence its settler population will be allowed to engage in without consequences.
If the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights is so concerned about an increase in violence as a result of Ben-Gvir’s proposal to speed up the process of gun ownership among Israel’s settler population, then why not be concerned about how which the UN promotes Israel’s security situation by standing. his purported right to “self-defense” against those who own their land? There is no such right in international law. If Israel has blurred the lines between its armed forces and its civilians in terms of impunity for violence, why is the UN distinguishing between firearms in the hands of civilians and the military-industrial complex that Israel and world leaders a lot of money? Perhaps the United Nations and its institutions can issue a clearer statement confirming that they have no fear of “collateral damage” arising from Israeli state or settler violence against the Palestinians.
READ: Israel PM suspends judicial reform, vows to allow militia run by Ben-Gvir
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.