Middle East Monitor / September 27, 2022
The Israeli occupation forces have installed a new AI-controlled [artificial intelligence] machine gun at a checkpoint in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron/Al-Khalil to track and shoot at Palestinians. Manufactured by Israeli company Smart Shooter, the gun fires stun grenades and sponge-tipped bullets, and is also capable of firing tear gas. It is being tested as part of a pilot scheme at Al-Shuhada Street checkpoint.
A spokesperson for the Israeli occupation army told Haaretz that it is “examining the possibility of using remotely controlled systems for the employment of approved measures of crowd dispersal [which] does not include remote control of live gunfire.”
Palestinians in the Old City of Hebron are harassed daily by illegal settlers and occupation soldiers who aim to force them out of their homes in order to establish illegal Jew-only settlements in the area.
Hebron-based Palestinian peace activist Issa Amro expressed serious concern regarding the risk of failure of the AI technology.
“The system was placed in the centre of a heavily populated area, with hundreds of people passing by. Any failure of this technology could have an impact on many people,” he explained to Haaretz. “I see that as part of the transition from human to technological control. We Palestinians have become an object for training the high tech-industry of the Israeli army, which is not held to account for what it does.”
This news comes after Google was found to be providing advanced AI and machine-learning capabilities to the Israeli government through its controversial “Project Nimbus” contract.
According to experts with digital civil rights organization Access Now, Israel’s use of surveillance and facial recognition technology appears to be among the most elaborate by a country seeking to control a subject population.