n May 2016, after the deadly wave of Palestinian Arab stabbing attacks and deliberate vehicular manslaughter of Jewish civilians began to subside, the Israeli government sought to make life easier for Palestinians, hoping that good will gestures would allow for peaceful coexistence.
In response to complaints that it took hours for Palestinians to get processed through checkpoints, Yoav Mordechai, the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) posted a note in Arabic that “It has been decided to renew and improve checkpoints in the West Bank, [to] increase the number of Palestinian workers allowed to pass through to their workplaces in Israel, improve waiting conditions and adopt advanced technology at all checkpoints.” He included an image of Palestinians crammed in line, waiting to enter Israel.
Israel estimated the improvements would cost 300 million shekels ($78 million), and would increase the amount of goods that pass through Israeli checkpoints by 30% and reduce wait times by 30% to 50%. The announcement was made right before Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, in an effort to lower tensions when thousands of Palestinian Muslims come to Jerusalem from the West Bank.
The anti-Israel Washington Post shared a video in 2019 about the new high tech facial recognition security cameras and turnstiles. It interviewed several Palestinians who were thankful that the crossings which used to take hours now only took minutes or seconds.
Israel uses almost the identical system at its airport for all passengers that enter the country, speeding up entry and reducing unnecessary manpower. People who use Global Entry to enter the United States use a similar system.
You wouldn’t know any of this by reading The New York Times or Amnesty International.
In an inflammatory piece of click bait called “Israel Tech Automates Apartheid, Critic Say,” the paper quoted a new absurd anti-Israel Amnesty International report. The jaundiced document said that Israel uses “technology against Palestinians” in “both Hebron and occupied East Jerusalem” as “part of a deliberate attempt by Israeli authorities to create a hostile and coercive environment for Palestinians.”
An absurd inversion of facts.
First, Palestinian Arabs created the hostile environment during their multi-year guerilla war against Israeli civilians from 2000 to 2004, which necessitates Israel building a security barrier.
Second, Israel put in place the high technology checkpoints to address the concerns of Palestinians that hated the long lines to enter Israel. Israel doesn’t have security cameras dotting Areas A or B in the West Bank to track Palestinians in their daily lives; it is focused on those areas near the security barrier.
Third, the technology focuses on everyone that goes before the cameras, not as portrayed by Amnesty or the Times which said “in Hebron and East Jerusalem, the technology focuses almost entirely on Palestinians.” For sinister measure, the anti-Zionist paper added “Government use of facial recognition technology to so explicitly target a single ethnic group is rare.”
But Israel doesn’t do that. It captures the images of everyone before the cameras, just as it captures the faces of everyone at the airport.
Israel was forced to spend $1.5 billion to build a security barrier to protect itself from Palestinian terrorists, and then opted to spend another $100 million to address Palestinian complaints regarding long wait times at checkpoints. No matter. Both the defensive action and the noble effort are varieties of a fictional “apartheid” for the anti-Zionist Amnesty International and New York Times.