Illegal Arms Collection Program a Flop, Report Shows

Dozens of illegal weapons seized by security forces in a raid in Beit Lechem. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, File)

Attempts to collect illegal arms in the Arab sector have largely failed, a report by the Public Security Ministry indicates. Under an offer made earlier this year, individuals can turn in illegal weapons without a penalty and with “no questions asked.” The report says that a grand total of 24 weapons were turned in.

The large majority of collected weapons were handguns. In addition to guns, bullets and several hand grenades were submitted as well. Those submitting the weapons included both Jews and Arabs, the Ministry said.

In a statement, the Ministry said that “for years, Arab MKs have accused us of ‘failing to gather’ weapons from the Arab sector. This complaint is false. Everyone realizes that the problem is far deeper, and requires intelligence and information about the individuals who are holding the weapons, and where they have been stored. Police may have to enter Arab villages and forcibly remove the weapons in order to protect individuals.”

Overnight Motzoei Shabbos, security officials said they arrested 14 wanted security suspects in other areas in Yehudah and Shomron. The suspects were wanted for participating in rioting and throwing stones and firebombs that endangered Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers. Several of the suspects were also charged with belonging to Hamas. All were being questioned on their activities by security forces.