The Israeli military is currently evaluating a plan to equip guards in illegal Jewish settlements with anti-tank missiles, a move that marks a significant escalation in the region’s armed conflict. This initiative, as reported by Israeli newspaper Haaretz, is seen as a response to the military tactics employed by the Palestinian Resistance movement Hamas, particularly the operation on October 7.
The plan, which is under active consideration by the Israeli army, aims to prepare for scenarios akin to Hamas’ recent military operations. Israeli army commanders have reportedly not opposed the proposal in the discussions so far, and it now awaits the green light from top security officials.
The potential arming of settlement guards with such high-caliber weapons is part of a broader strategy by Israel to fortify settlements in the West Bank. This strategy aligns with actions taken by Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who, shortly after the Al-Aqsa Flood Operation by Hamas, announced the purchase of 10,000 rifles to arm settlers in the occupied region.
Ben-Gvir’s commitment to massively arming civilian security teams is part of an effort to ensure comprehensive protection for Jewish settlements. This initiative has seen the distribution of a large cache of weapons, including pistols, semiautomatic rifles, and machine guns, to these civilian squads.
According to Haaretz, the proposed plan involves allocating missiles to commanders of the security squads, with settlement commanders and military security coordinators responsible for the anti-tank missiles. This move signifies a substantial shift in the Israeli military’s approach to the conflict, equipping civilian elements with advanced military-grade weaponry.
Palestinian journalist and political analyst Ramzy Baroud has expressed concerns over the implications of this development. Baroud highlights the dangers of Ben-Gvir’s policies, which he perceives as aiming for a religious war leading to the potential ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, not only from Gaza but also from the West Bank.
The current situation in Gaza provides a backdrop for these developments, potentially allowing religious Zionism to gain further influence within Israel’s political framework. The ongoing conflict in Gaza is seen by some as an opportunity to further these goals, exacerbating the already volatile situation in the region.