by Mnar Adley
May 08, 2024

from MintPressNews Website



Mnar Adley

is an award-winning journalist and editor and is the founder and director of MintPress News.

She is also president and director of the non-profit media organization Behind the Headlines.

Adley also co-hosts the MintCast podcast and is a producer and host of the video series Behind The Headlines.

Contact Mnar at or follow her on Twitter at @mnarmuh.

A silent sentinel watches over every corner in the bustling streets of Hebron, the largest city in the West Bank, where the ancient echoes of history collide with the modern hum of daily life.


This sentinel is not a person but a network of surveillance technology known ominously as the Hebron "Smart City."


Designed by Israeli authorities, this system blankets the city in a web of cameras, sensors and even automated weapons, tracking every movement of its Palestinian residents.

"Palestinians in Hebron are the most surveilled people on the planet," explains journalist and activist Mnar Adley, highlighting the omnipresence of cameras and face-scanning technology.

Adley says that the area, also known as al-Khalil to Palestinians, has become a testing ground for Israel's surveillance apparatus, with advanced technologies like the "Wolf Pack" surveillance system in operation.


This system collects vast amounts of data on Palestinians, including their personal details and movements, creating an atmosphere of constant surveillance.

Izzat Karake, a member of Youth Against Settlements, echoes this sentiment, noting the discomfort caused by constant surveillance.

"Wherever I go as a Palestinian, I can see cameras," he told MintPress while pointing out dozens of Israeli military cameras lining the streets.


"We are constantly under surveillance."

The Hebron Smart City, Adley explains, is more than just a collection of cameras and sensors:

it is a symbol of Israel's relentless efforts to control every aspect of Palestinian life.

Face-scanning cameras, known as Red Wolf, line every street, their unblinking gaze capturing the faces of every passerby without their consent.


These images are then fed into Israel's Wolf Pack Database, a vast repository of information on Palestinians, all accessible through a mobile app, allowing them to track and monitor individuals with ease.

Amnesty International has condemned this mass surveillance project, denouncing it as "Automated Apartheid" in a scathing report.


The system, they argue, reinforces existing practices of discrimination and segregation, further eroding the rights of Palestinians in Hebron at the hands of Israeli authorities, which the human rights group says has,

"a record of discriminatory and inhuman acts that maintain a system of apartheid."


"The Israeli authorities are able to use facial recognition software - in particular at checkpoints - to consolidate existing practices of discriminatory policing, segregation, and curbing freedom of movement, violating Palestinians' basic rights," the report concludes.

This invasive surveillance technology that targets and monitors Palestinians compounds an already existing segregated system of apartheid in Hebron, where the city has been split into two zones, H1 and H2.


These two segments of Hebron are separated by a militarized checkpoint that allows for the maintenance and expansion of an illegal Israeli settlement right in the middle of the Tel Rumeida neighborhood that overlooks the Palestinian city's marketplace.

This is where Youth Against Settlements was born after a Palestinian building that was initially occupied first by the Israeli military and later by Israeli settlers was reclaimed for Palestinian use through a nonviolent direct action and legal campaign.


Once a bustling Palestinian neighborhood, Tel Rumeida now hosts over 700 illegal Israeli settlers, heavily armed and protected by the military.


The main thoroughfare, formerly known as Shuhada Street, has been renamed "Chicago Street" by Israeli authorities in an attempt to erase Palestinian heritage.

Each year, Izzat and his colleagues with Youth Against Settlements hold an annual march called Open Shuhada Street campaign that draws international attention to the illegal siege of the city.


Not only has Israel occupied and fragmented this neighborhood to make room for the Israeli settlers, but it's altering this area to Judaize the quarter - meaning planning to expand its colonization of the area to ethnically cleanse and displace Palestinians out of here, so Israeli settlers can take over.


This military strategy is used to protect, expand and connect other Jewish settlements nearby in Israel's quest to ensure an ethno-Jewish state.

Hebron has seen some of the most violent settler assaults against Palestinians, especially after Hamas' surprise attack and Israel's subsequent assault on Gaza.


In many cases, the armed settlers are escorted and protected by Israeli soldiers.


Barbed wire covers Palestinian homes that are fenced in to protect them from Israeli settler attacks and harassment. But the intimidation doesn't end there.

An AI smartshooter sits atop a checkpoint on Shuhada Street, pointing directly at Hebron's marketplace, where thousands of Palestinians pass by each day.


Israel installed the remote-controlled automatic turret gun in 2022.


According to Israel's Army spokesperson, the AI smart shooter "is used as a dispersal measure" as part of the Army's improved preparations for confronting people disrupting order.


However, the introduction of AI technology, such as the smartshooter, has only heightened tensions in the city. Residents walk through their own neighborhoods with a sense of unease, knowing that they are always under watchful eyes.

Just as Gaza has become a laboratory and showroom for Israel's "battle-tested" weapons, the success of the Hebron Smart City facial recognition technology and database through Wolf Pack to track Palestinians will be used for Israel to continue to profit off of its illegal military occupation of Palestine and surveillance of Palestinian civilians.

This "Automated Apartheid" only further establishes segregation of Palestinians and expands Israel's apartheid system and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians...