Israel’s Systematic Surveillance of Palestinians

A man points at surveillance cameras in the Palestinian West Bank city of Hebron, on Nov. 9, 2021. Recent reports have exposed the magnitude of Israel’s surveillance program targeting Palestinians. (credit: Hazem Bader / AFT via Getty Images)
Reaction to the threat of new surveillance technologies being used on Palestinians and the potential for use in a global context.

By Janna Aladdin | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs | Dec 17, 2021

The Palestinian Policy Network, both emphasized that such surveillance not only entails political and security threats for Palestinians, but also works to hinder their free expression.

Waging Peace

HOW DOES the Israeli government’s reliance on cyber spyware and surveillance technologies pose a risk not only to Palestinians and their supporters, but also the global community? This question underscored much of the discussion surrounding the webinar, “Welcome to the Panopticon: Israel’s Systematic Surveillance of Palestinians and the Implications for the World,” hosted by the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) on Nov. 18.

A recent Washington Post investigation, which demonstrated that Israel has been systematically increasing surveillance on Palestinians in the West Bank by building a database that integrates facial recognition, set the stage for much of the talk.

Avner Gvaryahu, executive director of Breaking the Silence, remarked that he, along with his peers, were simultaneously “surprised and very unsurprised” by the revelations. In particular, the former Israeli soldier was surprised at how widespread and accessible these technologies were to everyday soldiers and even Israeli citizens. In fact, the Israeli government and certain universities provided extra credit to students to monitor Palestinian social media, while also encouraging Israeli citizens to take pictures of Palestinian adults, children and the elderly.

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