Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz said Monday that the army will collect the settlers’ weapons shortly before the scheduled date for the disengagement plan, “even by force.”

Mofaz, who spoke to Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee members, said that the measure was necessary to ensure there will be no armed settlers during the evacuation.

In mid-April Mofaz ordered the army to begin coordination with settler leaders to begin collecting weapons from settlers ahead of the evacuation, but his directives were postponed soon after due to fears that collecting weapons would create a crisis of confidence in the army among the settlers.

Answering a question about army procedures in case some settlers refuse to give up weapons, Mofaz said: ‘because the weapon is the army’s property, it will be taken forcefully from anyone refusing to hand it over.’

Mofaz also said he would urge settlers to evacuate their children before the withdrawal to spare them traumatic sights.

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