US suspends rifle sales to Israel amid settler violence concerns

Israeli settlers with weapons
(Photo: Twitter/X)
WASHINGTON — On Wednesday, Axios reported that the Biden administration has suspended licenses for selling over 20,000 US-made rifles to Israel. The decision is linked to concerns about attacks by extremist Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied West Bank, as per information from U.S. officials revealed on December 14, 2023.اضافة اعلان

According to Axios, a review by the U.S.State Department on the arms deal indicates ongoing concerns about the perceived lack of efforts by the Israeli government to control extremist settler violence. This development comes after Israel's request for rifles for civilian first response teams near the borders with Gaza, Lebanon, and Syria in the first week of the war.

Approaching the Israeli request cautiously, the Biden administration cited concerns that extremist nationalist minister Itamar Ben Gvir, overseeing the police, might distribute rifles to settlers in the Occupied West Bank, as reported by American officials, Khaberni reported.

Several weeks after initially approving the deal, U.S. State Department officials decided to slow down the process and subject the licenses to a new review. They state that export licenses for U.S. defense companies will be approved only after ensuring weapons won't be diverted to civilian teams in Israeli settlements.

A State Department spokesperson commented, “We are prohibited from publicly confirming or commenting on details regarding direct commercial defense sales licensing activities.”

Simultaneously, the Israeli army has increased raids and arrest operations in cities and towns in the Occupied West Bank amid the ongoing Gaza war since October 7.

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