Occupied West Bank | Israel uses facial recognition technology to monitor Palestinians and deposit their files

(Hebron) – The Israeli army has developed a facial recognition system to register Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, an Israeli organization told AFP on Tuesday that collected testimonies from soldiers, confirming press reports.

According to the American newspaper Washington PostFor two years, the Israeli military has been using a technology called the “blue wolf” in which soldiers photograph Palestinian faces with their mobile phones, before sending the images to a database showing whether the person photographed should be arrested or left free, based on information already in the possession of Israeli forces. .

The Washington Post It was based on the testimonies of several former soldiers they shared with the Israeli anti-occupation organization “Breaking the Silence”, which, under the cover of anonymity, provides a platform for the army to denounce what they believe are abhorrent actions by the occupying army. West Bank since 1967.

One official, Uri Givati, told AFP that Israeli soldiers “send to towns and villages with some kind of smartphone and take pictures of every Palestinian they see in a completely arbitrary way.”

After a photo is taken, their phone is shown in red if an arrest is needed, in yellow if the person needs to be held temporarily prior to consultation with the hierarchy, or in green if there is no need to. , whose organization collected confirmed testimonies from six soldiers.

The competition between soldiers

There is competition between soldiers […] And even rewards.”

“The message we are sending (to the soldiers) is: ‘Everyone is an enemy, you should suspect them all’,” deputy director of the NGO Nadav Weiman said during a visit with AFP in Hebron on Tuesday. southern West Bank.

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In this town of Powder, where 200,000 Palestinians live, and 1,000 Jewish settlers are under heavy Israeli military protection in the center, the army has beefed up a system of facial recognition cameras, according to Breaking the Silence.

In the center of town, Zulekha Mohtaseb, 59, a Palestinian who lives “surrounded by cameras,” laments.

“It’s a violation. Nobody wants to be constantly monitored,” she told AFP.

Asked by AFP about the issue, the Israeli military said it was carrying out “routine security operations” in the West Bank with the aim of “fighting terrorism” and “improving the quality of life” for Palestinians. “Of course, we cannot comment on the operational capabilities of the army in this context,” she added.

“One of the soldiers we spoke with told us, ‘I will never agree to the establishment of such a system in my area.'” The soldiers were “shocked by the things they were asked to do,” Givati ​​told AFP.

He criticized, “We are talking about a new layer of control that we allow ourselves to impose on the Palestinian people.”

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