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HEBRON: The Palestinian Authority is increasingly concerned about the proliferation of contraband weapons in the West Bank. Apparently, they are used to incite conflicts between families and different groups.

It is clear that Israeli arms dealers are contributing to this threat, and the situation appears to be a new challenge for the Palestinian Authority, which is already facing a serious financial crisis.

There are fears that some Palestinian groups will use these weapons to destabilize the government and try to control the West Bank.

Palestinian police spokesman Col. Luai Erzeigat said in a press release that security forces seize between six hundred and one thousand weapons a year in the West Bank.

Not a day goes by without weapons being used in various Palestinian cities in the West Bank, whether in clashes between different groups, Israeli raids or military checkpoints.

The funerals of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces, which have become almost daily since the beginning of this year, especially in the northern West Bank, have increasingly seen armed men.

Although Israel has confiscated weapons in daily incursions into Palestinian areas, it has not been enough to stem the flow.

Palestinians have repeatedly accused Israeli arms smugglers of fueling inter-family conflicts in areas such as Hebron in the southern West Bank.

A report by the Israeli website Walla said that security officials know that Israel has tens of thousands of weapons that have been stockpiled over the years for various purposes.

According to the report, there has also been an increase in the smuggling of arms into Israel from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt, prices of which have skyrocketed.

For example, fourth and fifth generation Glock pistols are the most advanced on the market and cost around $2,000 ($1 = €1.03); but in Israel they sell for $15,000.

An M16 rifle usually costs several thousand dollars, but in the Israeli market it can cost up to $35,000. A Kalashnikov assault rifle can be sold for $20,000.

Almost every month, Israel stops attempts to smuggle parts of pistols and rifles from Jordan into the West Bank.

Ismat Mansour, a writer specializing in Israeli issues, says the smuggled weapons mainly end up in families – then used in internal conflicts – but also to armed militias in certain parts of the Fatah movement, who are waiting for the moment when Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas finally leaves. retired

“These weapons are mostly light and the Palestinians do not use them in their attacks against Israelis, as they resort to locally manufactured weapons such as Carlo and M16 rifles that come from Israel through arms dealers.”

Since the beginning of the year, the Israeli army has confiscated more than three hundred weapons during operations on the border with Jordan.

The army says it has prevented 19 smuggling operations since the start of the year, compared to 21 in the past two years.

In early October, it announced that it had seized sixty pistols and an M16 rifle near the town of Zubeidat on the Palestinian-Jordanian border.

In a statement, the army said it had arrested two Palestinians near the city in the biggest anti-smuggling operation in five years.

In September, it arrested four Palestinians suspected of smuggling weapons from Jordan to the West Bank. She also seized forty-five pistols and dozens of weapon parts.

The Israeli army also arrested a Palestinian man who was carrying out a bag full of weapons left near the Jordanian-Palestinian border.

Meanwhile, Israeli police dismantled the network in the West Bank and Palestinian neighborhoods in Israel. He arrested sixty Palestinians and confiscated weapons, ammunition, drugs and cash.

Last April, it foiled an operation from Lebanon, seizing 100 hand grenades and two weapons believed to have been used in attacks on Israeli targets.

Rafiq Abu Hani, a retired general and resident of Gaza, clarified that there are no heavy weapons in the West Bank, only light ones.

The latter are mainly used by families, various groups and drug traffickers, and are largely ignored by Israel, Abu Hani claims.

This text is a translation of an article published on Arabnews.com

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