The US has threatened to stop supplying rifles to Israel after its national security minister was seen distributing them to civilians.
The diplomatic dispute was sparked by images on social media Itamar Ben-Gvir According to Israeli daily Haaretz, rifles were distributed to community security forces across the country.
The images appeared to show that Mr. Ben-Gvir had distributed the weapons at political events in Bnei Brak and El’ad, two towns near Tel Aviv.
After several days of diplomatic exchanges, Israel committed to distributing the weapons only through its police or army, although politicians may be present at the distribution.
A State Department said: “President (Joe) Biden has directed his team to ensure that Israel has what it needs for self-defense, consistent with international law, and we are actively providing additional security assistance to the Israel Defense Forces.”
“Our aid will flow quickly to meet Israel’s urgent needs.”
A spokesman for Mr. Ben-Gvir did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Since the beginning of the War with HamasIsrael has formed hundreds of volunteer security troops and armed them amid possible unrest in Palestinian communities.
Mr Ben-Gvir has predicted that this war could see a repeat of the tensions that followed the last Gaza war in 2021 and has ordered a relaxation of rules for issuing weapons licenses to private individuals.
Israel increases raids by kidnapping squads
Retired deputy police commissioner Shimon Lavi, who oversees the establishment of civilian security forces and their arming, said about 600 such groups had been formed since Oct. 7, the day of the Hamas attack.
In the near future, another 1,200 squads would be created to work under the supervision of the Israeli police, Lavi said.
These troops typically provide increased security in the country’s outlying areas and in the United States Settlements in the West Bankwhere clashes between Jewish settlers and Palestinians are frequent and have intensified since the start of the war.
Since the start of the war, Israeli police and army have stepped up raids in the occupied territories to arrest members of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, 103 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since October 7, including 32 children.
UNRWA also said settlers attacked a community near Ramallah in the West Bank on Thursday, damaging homes and stealing items, the latest in a series of similar incidents.
Its latest report on Friday said that since the war began, “increasing settler violence has led to the forced relocation of 82 households, including 607 people, including 211 children.”
In an interview with CNN on Sunday, U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “curb” violence by extremist Jewish settlers against innocent people in the West Bank.