Israel’s technological advancements have digitized its occupation of Palestine and turned the occupied territories into a testing ground for surveillance, spyware, and arms technologies.
By Jessica Buxbaum | MintPress News | Oct 5, 2022
“I’m afraid every time I pass [through this checkpoint] that this weapon is pointing at me, pointing at children, or women,”
— Issa Amro, an al-Khalil resident and founder of Palestinian activist group Youths Against Settlements
The Israeli military installed an automatic weapon at a heavily-trafficked checkpoint in the occupied West Bank city of al-Khalil in September. While it was initially reported that the weapon will fire a wide range of projectiles, the army now states the device is only capable of firing sponge-tipped bullets. Reiterating the remote-controlled gun will not use live fire, the IDF hopes this system will be used to test approved crowd dispersal methods. But critics assert the device is yet another example of Israel using Palestinians as guinea pigs so they can market their military technology as field-tested to governments around the world.
The weapon was placed at a military checkpoint on Al-Shuhada Street, a once vibrant center of Palestinian life in al-Khalil, but is now recognized as a symbol of Israel’s occupation. After Israeli-American settler Baruch Goldstein gunned down 29 worshipers at the Ibrahimi Mosque in 1994, Israel shut down the busy road and eventually declared it a closed military area where only residents can pass through. According to Issa Amro, an al-Khalil resident and founder of Palestinian activist group Youths Against Settlements, the area is home to 200 families and the checkpoint is used by around 300 families every day.
The army argues this weapon will be used for riot dispersal, given the checkpoint’s history of demonstrations. But Amro says this area is not a security threat. “There is no security need to install this automatic weapon there,” he told MintPress News. “There is no violence. The checkpoint is well-protected with many fences, doors, and gates.”
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