Settlers (Israel)

Country: Israel
Details of Formation: The government authorised an added 'civil guard unit' in 1991
Details of Termination: --
Purpose: The Israeli government armed Israeli civilians to defend themselves against the Palestine Liberation Organization and civilian Palestinians. Settlers were living in the Israeli-occupied areas in the West Bank and acted as vigilante groups.
Organisation: Israeli settlers had official permission to carry arms, while Palestinian had no authorization. The government emphasized that the militiamen were subject to military control and were only allowed to use violence for self-defense. In 1991, the government allowed the armed Settlers to carry out police operations such as patrolling the streets. In 2004/5, there are first reports on the government’s plan to disarm the Settlers and to replace them by paid security personnel. Nonetheless, evidence of operations by the militia exists until 2014.
Weapons and Training: Settlers were armed with automatic rifles. Furthermore, there is a source reporting on the use of teargas by settlers.
Size: It is estimated that about a quarter of Jewish settlers carried automatic rifles. This means there are about 20,000 militia members.
Reason for Membership: Settlers in the Israeli-occupied territories were under Israeli military rule, not Israeli law and therefore automatically became government agents to secure Israel’s ownership of the territories.
Treatment of Civilians: The militia members behaved violently against Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories. Incidents include attacks against Palestinian journalists, farmers and car drivers. Their behavior was tolerated and supported by the government as it was in line with the government’s interests in defending the occupied territories.
Other Information: Note that they are located in the Occupied Territories and not in Israel. Added 'civil guard' unit in 1991. 20000 armed males estimated in 1994.
References: Information was taken from news sources listed in the PGMD.