Israel explains deployment of remote-controlled turret
OREANDA-NEWS The Israeli army has installed a remote-controlled turret in the Palestinian city of Hebron in the West Bank, saying it’s to be used for crowd dispersal.
The sci-fi-looking gun is positioned at a checkpoint on Shuhada Street, which is a known protest hotspot in the city, Haaretz reported at the weekend.
The system, which is currently being tested, can fire stun grenades, tear gas and sponge-tipped bullets, while being controlled by a remote operator.
“As part of the army’s improved preparations for confronting people disrupting order in the area, it is examining the possibility of using remotely controlled systems for the employment of approved measures of crowd dispersal,” a military spokesman told the Israeli paper.
“This does not include remote control of live gunfire,” the official assured. However, there have been a number of incidents over the last few years of sponge-tipped bullets, which are considered non-lethal, delivering grave injuries to Palestinians.
The turret was designed by Smart Shooter, a firm specializing in systems that follow and lock in on targets using image processing based on artificial intelligence, Haaretz wrote.
While the manufacturer says that its products provide for greater accuracy of fire, many Palestinians remain doubtful about that claim.
The gun has been placed in a densely populated area, meaning that “any failure of this technology could impact many people,” Issa Amro, a human rights activist from Hebron, pointed out in a comment to the newspaper.
“I see this as part of a transition from human to technological control. We as Palestinians have become an object of experimenting and training for Israel’s military hi-tech industry, which is not accountable for anything it does,” Amro added.
Last year, Israel reportedly introduced facial recognition technology in the West Bank, while also starting to deploy drones, capable of firing tear gas, during Palestinian protests.