Israel Gaza
An Israeli soldier aims at Palestinian protesters during clashes at the Israeli-maned Hawara checkpoint, south of the West Bank city of NablusJaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP

Police use extra staff to cope with the demand as requests for a weapon licence has increased by a "double-digit percentage", according to the public security ministry. Itzik Mizrahi, owner of a gun shop in Jerusalem said that over the past few weeks, he has seen a 70% increase in all types of self-defense items, including handguns and electric shockers.

A hiking equipment chain store also reported that a number of its shops have run out of their stock of pepper spray, with 75% of the demand coming from Jerusalem, the store's CEO, David Mentin told USA Today.

Israel strict rules on gun ownership including background checks, proof of living close to the Palestinian territories, no criminal record and a mental health examination. But restrictions are less rigid for residents of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Gilad Erdan, the public security minister, is seeking to soften the rules further. "Clearly we cannot assign a police officer to protect every citizen," he said in a Times report. "So self-defence is vital."

Protests continued in the West Bank, where stones and firebombs were thrown at Israeli troops as thousands gathered in Ramallah, Bethlehem and Hebron. On Sunday (11 October), three Palestinians, including a two-year-old and a 13-year-old, were killed by Israeli forces, and four Israelis were injured in an evening stabbing attack.

Officials are encouraging people to carry guns for self-defence, and shop owners report that sales of guns and pepper spray are soaring.

"I think everyone should come and get a gun licence," said Idan Albilia, a Jerusalem resident who was at a gun shop purchasing his first weapon. "We need to defend ourselves. I think this is the only thing that will help us in this situation," he told the South China Morning Post.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet on Sunday that the country was fighting a "wave of terror" fuelled by "systematic, untrue incitement" by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

The Palestinian human rights group al-Haq warned that the occupied Palestinian territories stood "on the brink." The organisation attacked "Israel's wanton and excessive use of force against Palestinians, with no accountability for the deaths they cause".