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Private gun ownership soars in West Bank

Crime rates are rising in the West Bank, where illegal weapons are turning family feuds deadly.
Palestinians cover their ears as a masked man fires a volley from his rifle, during the funeral of Dalia Ahmed Suleiman Samudi, 23, in Jenin city in the occupied West Bank on August 7, 2020, who was killed by Israeli fire during clashes. - Samudi died of a gunshot wound after being shot near the site of clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli troops in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian officials said. (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH / AFP) (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images)

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights issued a warning Aug. 23 about an armament race between Palestinian families in the West Bank provoked by “their feeling of insecurity, weakness and lack of protection.”

Only the Palestinian security apparatus is allowed to own arms in the West Bank, according to the Oslo Accords. Nevertheless, Ammar Duweik, director general of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, told Al-Monitor, “Weapons are widely spreading among families in the [West Bank] areas under the control of the Palestinian Authority and under the protection of influential PA or Fatah figures.”

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