IDF Takes Legal Action Against Celebratory Gunfire At Palestinian Events

A Saudi woman walks past wedding dresses displayed in a shop window on February 4, 2013 at a mall in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

TEL AVIV – The Israeli military is pursuing legal action against event halls in the West Bank that allow celebratory gunfire during Palestinian functions after a series of near-fatal accidents.

In a first, Israeli troops shut down a venue near East Jerusalem on Monday after gunfire rang out during a wedding the previous night, Ynet news reported.

Gunfire from guests is a frequent part of festivities in Palestinian society. The IDF argued that legal action is needed to prevent misfires that damage property and injure people. IDF officials said that stray bullets fired during weddings have damaged homes and vehicles – belonging to both Israelis and Palestinians – on dozens of occasions over the past year.

“In these events, guests are firing bursts of bullets in a very dangerous manner,” a senior official in the Judea and Samaria Division told Ynet.

“We don’t want to get to a point where we have to cancel weddings of young people before they happen, and as such, we are deciding to approach this matter legally and work with these event halls in order to prevent mishaps.”

The IDF also said that legislation would help combat the problem of illegally-produced firearms used in recent terror attacks.

“This is another important development in the campaign against illegal weapon possession and manufacturing,” the official said. “By doing things like this, we reduce the impact of illegal weapons on the ground, raise prices, reduce the potential for lethal disaster and demonstrate better governance.”

Soldiers sealed off the entrance to the event hall and the closure order gave the hall owners 30 days to make future business arrangements.

The IDF said that it preferred taking the legal route since carrying out raids on events while shooting occurs could lead to more injuries.

The IDF will give venue owners warning before closing them down. In the case of the venue closed on Monday, the closure gave the hall owners 30 days to plan for future events.


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