Israel face-recognition start-up ‘secretly tracking Palestinians’

Palestinians cross Qalandiya checkpoint to perform the first Friday Prayer of Islamic holy month of Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Ramallah, West Bank on 10 May, 2019 [Issam Rimawi/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians cross Qalandiya checkpoint to perform Friday Prayer during Ramadan at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on 10 May, 2019

A start-up known as “Israel’s most high-profile biometric recognition firm” is playing a key role in monitoring Palestinians at checkpoints in the occupied West Bank, reported Haaretz.

According to the article, Anyvision Interactive Technologies “is taking part in two special projects in assisting the Israeli army in the West Bank”.

One project “involves a system that it has installed at army checkpoints that thousands of Palestinians pass through each day on their way to work from the West Bank.”

In a statement in February, the army said “27 biometric crossings” had been established in the West Bank, as part of a “wide-ranging” effort to “upgrade” the checkpoints in question.

The second project, however, “is much more confidential”, reported Haaretz, and “includes facial recognition technology elsewhere in the West Bank, not just at border crossings”, as “cameras deep inside the West Bank try to spot and monitor potential Palestinian assailants”.

Anyvision’s president, Amir Kain, is the former head of Malmab, the Defence Ministry’s security department, while one of the company’s advisers is Tamir Pardo, a former head of Mossad.

READ: London art gallery chief quits over Israel spyware firm links 

The company claims to operate in 43 countries and at more than 350 locations such as stadiums, airports and casinos, and recently raised $31 million from Microsoft’s M12 venture capital fund.

As reported by Haaretz, “Anyvision’s involvement in the West Bank is being revealed amid a lively debate around the world on the use of biometric technology, especially facial recognition.”

“About a month ago, San Francisco became the first American city to outlaw facial recognition technology. And camera maker Axon recently decided to eliminate its products’ facial recognition capacity, based on the recommendations of an ethics committee that it had formed.”

According to the paper, “the Israeli surveillance operation in the West Bank is undoubtedly among the largest of its kind in the world. It includes monitoring the media, social media and the population as a whole — and now it turns out also the biometric signature of West Bank Palestinians.”

(Source / 15.07.2019) 

‘Court-sanctioned vengeance’: Israel ban on family visits for Hamas prisoners from Gaza upheld

Palestinians hold a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, outside the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza City, Gaza on 31 July, 2017 [Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu Agency]

Palestinians hold a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, outside the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Gaza City, Gaza on 31 July, 2017 

Israel’s top court has given its approval to a punitive ban on family visits for Hamas prisoners from the Gaza Strip, a decision slammed by human rights activists as “court-sanctioned vengeance”.

In July 2017, Israel banned family visits to Hamas prisoners from Gaza, in an apparent bid to pressure the organisation over its ongoing detention of two Israelis and the remains of two soldiers.

Following the ban, four Hamas-affiliated prisoners brought a petition to the Supreme Court, which was finally rejected last month.

Some 300 Palestinians from the Gaza Strip are in Israeli jails, roughly a third of whom are Hamas-affiliated. Even for non-Hamas prisoners, Israel imposes draconian restrictions on family visits.

READ: Hamas will not prove captured soldiers are alive

In its ruling, the court acknowledged that family visits are being denied as a way of pressuring Hamas rather than based on “concrete concern over abuse of the visits by any of the prisoners”.

However, this was seen as a denial of a privilege rather than a punishment, and a measure justified in the name of “national security”.

B’Tselem noted that Israeli minister Gilad Erdan has justified the ban on the basis that it ends “the absurd asymmetry between the conditions in which Israelis are held captive without trial by Hamas and the conditions terrorists receive here in Israel”.

According to the human rights group, “this is the entire story in a nutshell: not ‘general security conditions’, not ‘proportionality tests’, not a balance between ‘privileges’ and weighty considerations”, but rather “sheer vengeance”.

B’Tselem also criticised the court for once again providing “a legal stamp of approval for the violation of Palestinians’ rights”.

(Source / 15.07.2019) 

ARIJ: Palestinians lose $270m per year due to military checkpoints

Palestinians wait to cross the Israeli checkpoint in West Bank [APA Images]

Palestinians wait to cross an Israeli checkpoint in the West Bank 

Palestinians lose about 60 million work hours per year due to restrictions on movement in the occupied West Bank imposed by Israeli occupation forces, according to a study by the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem (ARIJ).

This loss is estimated at $270 million per year, as well as added fuel consumption of 80 million litres, costing up to an additional $135 million and leading to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions by 196,000 tonnes per year.

The study tracked the movement of citizens through 15 major Israeli military checkpoints between cities in the occupied West Bank as well as 11 crossing points into Jerusalem and Israeli territories. The data was collected from the beginning of January to the end of July 2018, using GPS tracking devices installed on Palestinian vehicles, including public transport and private vehicles. Each device monitored the location, time and speed of the vehicle every ten seconds, giving an accurate idea of the time spent at military checkpoints.

READ: Palestinian dies at Israel checkpoint on route to Al-Aqsa

Israel maintains a system of checkpoints that can be closed at any time, preventing Palestinians from travelling to school, hospital or work, or to access their land.

In a July 2018 survey, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHAoPt) recorded that there are “705 permanent obstacles across the West Bank restricting or controlling Palestinian vehicular, and in some cases pedestrian, movement.”

Israel also runs a system of “flying checkpoints” which can disrupt travel at a moment’s notice. OCHAoPt notes that, “between January 2017 and the end of July 2018, Israeli forces employed an additional 4,924 ad-hoc ‘flying’ checkpoints, or nearly 60 a week. These involve the deployment of Israeli forces for several hours on a given road for the purpose of stopping and checking Palestinian drivers and vehicles, but without any permanent physical infrastructure on the ground.”

READ: Over 100 bullet fragments in brain of Palestinian child shot by Israel soldier

5,600 Palestinians in Hebron must cross Israel checkpoint to reach their home


MEMO #Infographic by QUAD Business House

(Source / 15.07.2019) 

Soldiers Storm Bab ar-Rahma in Jerusalem

14 JUL10:22 PM

Israeli occupation police and soldiers invaded, on Sunday at dawn,  Bab ar-Rahma mosque, to the east of Al-Aqsa mosque, removed the worshipers and its contents.

Director of Public Relations and Information at the Islamic Endowments Department, Firas Al-Debs said that soldiers and the police stormed the site ahead of the dawn prayer, removed the wooden barriers to separate the men from the women inside the praying area and the shoe cupboard, and placed them several meters away.

He noted that Israeli police took the contents of Bab al-Rahma Mosque, a week ago, but returned them, warning of repeated raids.

(Source / 15.07.2019) 

UPDATE: Over 100 bullet fragments in brain of Palestinian child shot in northern West Bank

July 15 | International Solidarity Movement | Kafr Qaddum, occupied Palestine
   Israeli soldiers shot a Palestinian child in the head with live ammunition on Friday during a protest against settlement expansion in the West Bank town of Kafr Qaddum, Palestine.Abdul Rahman Yasser Shteiwi, 9*, was rushed to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus at around 3pm and was operated on immediately. On Saturday, Palestinian doctors told ISM that a scan of the boy’s brain showed over 100 bullet fragments lodged in his head. Yesterday Abdul was moved to Tel Hashomer hospital near Tel Aviv. 

   Rafidia hospital’s head of neurosurgery, Othman Othman, who operated on the 10-year-old for three and a half hours, claimed that the bullet fired at Abdul was a live round.
Speaking through an interpreter, he said: “He had a penetrating injury in the frontal lobe on the right side. The injury was severe and there are more than 100 fragments.
“This is not a rubber bullet; this is a metal bullet. A rubber bullet will not enter because it does not have a sharp head. This is something that had a sharp head.”Mr Othman added that he believes the bullet fired at Abdul was “not a normal bullet.”“I have seen many gunshot wounds and they only break into a few pieces. Over 100 fragments is not normal.”This disputes claims by the Israeli military that no live ammunition was fired during the Friday protest.
ISM activists also found a 5.56 bullet case on the ground where protesters had been standing some 15 minutes before. The case was hot to the touch suggesting it had been fired that afternoon. Dozens more bullet cases were also found by villagers following the protest.The 9-year-old remains in critical condition, and is awaiting further scans. “This injury is a severe traumatic brain injury. He is in critical condition and there is a lot of blood in his brain,” Mr. Othman said. “We can’t yet say what is the real injury to the brain.”
The leader of the popular resistance committee in Kafr Qaddum, Murad Shtaiwi, told ISM: “I don’t have words to explain the sadness I feel.
“The army practised a very big fault if they think that what they did today will make the demonstration go down. No, never.” 

 Rubber-coated steel bullets were also fired at the crowds, as well as sound bombs. At least two people were injured by rubber bullets, including a child who was shot in the arm and a man who was also hit in the arm.
Mr Shtaiwi added: “I want to send a message to all the international community; if you care about the rights of children, come and protect them and share what happened today with the rest of the world.”
Another demonstration was held the following day on Saturday, July 13, at 4pm in Kafr Qaddum. One protester suffered a minor injury after he was shot in the stomach with a rubber-coated steel bullet by occupation soldiers.
The town has held weekly protests for 9 years against the closure of the main road to the city of Nablus due to the expansion of nearby settlements. Protesters are regularly met with tear gas and rubber-coated steel bullets fired by heavily armed occupation forces.  
Updated Monday, July 15, 2019*Correction: Abdul is 9-years-old and not 10 as stated previously in report. 

 (Source / 15.07.2019) 

Press Release On Remarks Made By Hamas Official Fathi Hammad Related To Jews, Great March Of Return

The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas stated in a press release   its stance on the statements made by a member of the Political Bureau of Hamas, Fathi Hamad on Monday

In its statement, Hamas’ leadership rejected the statements made by Political Bureau of Hamas, Fathi Hammad during the mass demonstration of the march of return and breaking the siege on Friday 12/07/2019.

They stressed on the following:

First: These statements do not reflect the official positions of Hamas and its adopted and consistent policies, which stipulate that the Palestinian struggle is with the Israeli occupation that occupies our land and desecrates our sanctities. There is no conflict with Jews around the world or with Judaism as a religion. The movement has always condemned the attacks against safe Jews in their places of worship.

Second: The Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege are popular peaceful rallies aimed at establishing the right of return and breaking the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, and the national consensus on its popularity and peacefulness does not mean allowing the occupation to assault the peaceful demonstrators and target and kill them.
We call upon the protestors to abide by the decisions of the National Commission of Great March of Return and Breaking the Siege policies, decisions, and activities.

Third: We reiterate our great appreciation to all mediators, especially the Egyptian brothers, for their efforts in working on breaking the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and helping the Palestinians achieve national unity.

(Source / 15.07.2019) 


From Murad Shtaiwi, leader of popular resistance committee in Kafr Qaddoum: “Abd Arrahman Yaser Shtaiwi, 10-years-old, was shot in head with live explosive bullet shot by sniper, leaving him between life and death in a critical case.It is very difficult to explain with words what happened last Friday; we don’t change our way to demonstrate – the same since 8 years, till now I can’t believe what changed in Israeli occupation army.More than 50 soldiers opened their guns automatically towards the protesters and houses but one sniper targeted the child who was standing in front of one house watching.The demonstration began at 1:15 pm; after 30 m clashes began, stones and metal bullets, suddenly everything changed – live ammunition everywhere, soldiers chasing us under fire, so we asked all protesters to run away and hide; despite this soldiers don’t stop shooting. About 2 pm we heard sounds: ‘One killed, one killed who…?’ He was ABD ARRAHMAN, who was shot in front of head with explosive bullet.He was taken to a hospital in Nablus soon for surgery and after 3 hours the doctors succeeded to stop the bleeding, but more than 70 fragments remain in his brain.To whoever it may concern:Despite he’s unconscious we heard Abd Arrahman Shtaiwi 10 years, who was shot in head with live explosive bullet damaging his brain, calling you everywhere to protect childhood.He says to you:‘I was sitting infront of house watching the soldiers i dont know what happened.Now am fighting for life, maybe i will fail – but take care of my friends.’ 

(Source / 15.07.2019)