Not a joke: Biden demands gun control in Israel

We are once again seeing how Joe Biden has been acting quite differently in private toward Israel as compared to his publicly stated support of the Jewish state’s right to defend itself. Shortly after the October 7 Hamas terror attacks, Israel “urgently requested” that America sell thousands of M-16 rifles to them. But as the Free Beacon learned this week, Joe Biden placed a hold on the request until Israel provided a guarantee that none of the weapons would wind up in the hands of Israeli settlers in the West Bank. This sort of “remote gun control” over the people of Israel would be outrageous in the best of times, but it’s particularly offensive under the current conditions.

The Biden administration refused to sell American weapons to Israel unless it provided guarantees the guns would not be given to civilians living in the West Bank, the Washington Free Beacon is exclusively reporting.

The Jewish state urgently requested the United States sell it thousands of M-16 rifles following the Hamas terror group’s Oct. 7 slaughter of more than 1,400 unarmed Israeli citizens. But the Biden administration would not approve the sale until Israel guaranteed the critical weapons would not reach civilian outposts in the West Bank, which the Biden administration and its Democratic allies view as occupied territory.

The stipulation was characterized by officials as unusual and indicates the Biden administration is succumbing to pressure from its far-left flank, which is pressing Israel to enact a ceasefire and accusing the Jewish state of carrying out a genocide as it defends itself from Hamas terrorists operating in the Gaza Strip.

It’s being reported that Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland was one of the people pressuring the Biden administration behind the scenes to force Israel to agree to the restrictions. He insists that the official position of the White House is that the West Bank is “occupied territory,” and distributing weapons there would only “throw gas on the fire.”

As noted above, this would be a strange decision under any circumstances. Israel has traditionally had more strict gun control laws than the United States. They did announce that they would be loosening those restrictions following the October 7 attacks, but civilians would still need to obtain a permit after a police screening, a medical exam, and passing a firearms safety test. Israel lists “self-defense” as one of the valid reasons for applying for a permit and you would think that the recent terror attacks would be all the justification that would be required to bolster people’s self-defense capabilities.

The West Bank was in chaos well before the attacks. Israeli settlers in the region have been regularly coming into conflict with the local Palestinians. Both the settlers and the IDF have wound up engaging Palestinians with a number of deaths being reported over the past year. That number spiked since October 7, with 155 Palestinians being killed. But it’s not as if the settlers provoked all of these engagements. Many of the Palestinian civilians in the region may not be technically associated with Hamas, but it doesn’t mean that they are big fans of Israel or the Jews either.

Joe Biden has no business setting gun control policy in Israel or anywhere else for that matter. We restrict firearms exports to countries that are known to harbor terrorists and criminal cartels, but Israel is our ally. They are fully capable of setting their own domestic policies. If they want to purchase civilian or military firearms, it is up to them how and where they will be made available. With Hamas leaders openly calling for global “days of jihad” and violence against the West, we shouldn’t be shocked if some Arabs in the West Bank take them up on that call and attack Jewish settlers. They should be able to defend themselves to the best of their ability.

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