Israel is increasingly relying on facial recognition in the occupied West Bank to track Palestinians and restrict passage through key checkpoints, a new report shows that artificial intelligence-powered surveillance is gaining ground. How can it be used against an ethnic group?
At high-fenced checkpoints in Hebron, Palestinians stand in front of facial recognition cameras before crossing. As their faces are scanned, the software – called RedWolf – guides soldiers using a green, yellow and red color-coded system to decide whether to let the person in, ask Be stopped or arrested for anything. Reports By Amnesty International. When the technology fails to identify someone, soldiers train the system by adding their personal information to a database.
Israel has. Limited for a long time Palestinians have freedom of movement, but technological advances are giving authorities powerful new tools. The latest example is Global spread Mass surveillance systems, which rely on AI to learn to recognize people’s faces based on large image stores.
In Hebron and East Jerusalem, the technology is focused almost entirely on Palestinians, Amnesty reports, indicating a new way to automate internal border control. Lives of Palestinians and Israelis. Amnesty described the practice as “automatic apartheid”. Israel has vehemently denied that it operates an apartheid regime.
“These databases and tools record data exclusively from Palestinians,” the report says, which includes accounts from former Israeli soldiers and Palestinians living in the Occupied Territories, as well as observing the use of the technology in affected areas. is based on field visits to
The Israeli Defense Forces, which play a central role in the occupied territories of the West Bank, said in a statement that they were making “significant efforts to minimize damage to the normal activities of the Palestinian population by providing “necessary security and intelligence. Sex does operations.”
On facial recognition, he added, “Naturally, we cannot refer to operational and intelligence capabilities.”
Government use of facial recognition technology to so clearly target a single ethnic group is rare. Companies in China have created algorithms. Tried to identify minorities. As they passed by the cameras everywhere in the country. It has also been used by the Chinese government. Face recognition checkpoints To control and monitor the movement of Uighurs, Kazakhs and other ethnic minorities.
Israel’s use of facial recognition at checkpoints On other monitoring systems Deployed in recent years. Since the protests in East Jerusalem Neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah Following the eviction of Palestinian families in 2021, the area has seen an increased presence of cameras, possibly supporting the Israeli government’s video surveillance system capable of facial recognition, according to Amnesty. As of 2000.
On a walk through the area, Amnesty researchers reported finding one to two cameras every 15 feet. Some were made by Chinese surveillance camera manufacturer Hikvision, and some by TKH Security, a Dutch manufacturer.
TKH Security declined to comment. Hikvision did not respond to a request for comment.
Government forces also use cameras on their phones. Israeli authorities have a facial recognition app, Blue Wolfto identify Palestinians, according to Breaking the Silence, an organization that supports Amnesty and collects testimonies from Israeli soldiers working in the occupied territories.
According to Amnesty’s 82-page report and testimonials from Breaking the Silence, soldiers use the app to take photos of Palestinians on the streets or during house raids to register them in a central database. The use of blue wolf was previously reported. The Washington Post.
The surveillance is partly an effort to reduce violence against Israelis. This year, Palestinian attackers have killed 19 Israelis. At least 100 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli security forces this year, most of them in shootouts during military operations to arrest Palestinian gunmen. Israel has occupied the West Bank since 1967 after seizing it from Jordan during the Arab-Israeli War that same year.
Isa Amr, a Palestinian activist in the West Bank city of Hebron, said people are under constant surveillance. He, his friends and family are regularly stopped by soldiers to take pictures using the Blue Wolf app. Surveillance cameras line the streets and drones often fly overhead.
Mr Amr said the Israeli army had become so reliant on automated systems that checkpoints stopped crossing when there were technical problems.
“Everything is watched. My whole life is watched. I have no privacy,” he said. “I feel like they’re following me everywhere I go.”
Mr. Amr said Palestinians are angry that surveillance equipment never seems to be used to identify crimes committed by Israeli settlers against Palestinians.
Uri Givati, a former Israeli tank commander who is now the advocacy director of Breaking the Silence, said the new surveillance system began to be implemented around 2020. Technology has allowed the Israeli government to move toward automated occupation, he said. Continuous surveillance and monitoring of Palestinians.
Facial recognition systems are “not just an invasion of privacy but a powerful tool for control,” he said.