IDF accused of using AI facial recognition system to target innocent Palestinians in Gaza
03/29/2024 // Laura Harris // Views

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has been accused of using an artificial intelligence-powered facial recognition system to scan the faces of innocent Palestinians and compile them in a database of individuals purportedly affiliated with Hamas in Gaza.

The Red Wolf system, developed by Unit 8200 of the IDF's Intelligence Corps in collaboration with Israeli tech firm Corsight, utilizes advanced AI algorithms to identify "individuals of interest." Initially, the IDF deployed the system to locate Israelis taken as hostages by Hamas during cross-border raids. The IDF then expanded its use to target anyone suspected of having ties to Hamas. (Related: Israel deploying next-generation weapons in Gaza, including AI-powered weapons systems.)

But a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) states that this system is being abused.

According to the ICRC, over 5,000 Palestinians, including a teenager selling cigarettes, an aspiring singer and an engineer at a local bottling plant have been reported missing in Gaza without a trace. The committee believes that these Palestinians, almost all of whom have no connection to any militant activities, were wrongly flagged by Red Wolf as wanted militants and have since disappeared at Israeli checkpoints.

One of those civilians was Mosab Abu Toha, a 31-year-old Palestinian poet. Toha, who has denied any affiliations with Hamas, was snatched away from his three-year-old son shortly after passing through a checkpoint in Gaza in November. He was attempting to leave Gaza for Egypt, but the system singled him out from the crowd. IDF troops grabbed and blindfolded him, interrogated him and kept him in illegal detention.

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"I had no idea what was happening or how they could suddenly know my full legal name," Toha said. "I did not know Israel was capturing or recording my face, [but they had] been watching us for years from the sky with their drones. They have been watching us gardening and going to schools and kissing our wives. I feel like I have been watched for so long."

But upon his release, the IDF told Toha that his interrogation had been a "mistake."

Toha is not an isolated case. Instead, he is just one of "hundreds" of Palestinians who have been victims of privacy infringement, human rights violations and mistaken identifications.

IDF has been using an AI-generated facial recognition system to solidify control over Palestinians

Even before the conflict in Gaza, Tel Aviv had already been using similar technology to reinforce its illegal occupation of the Palestinian West Bank. But in 2023, the IDF massively increased its use of Red Wolf to track Palestinians and to automate harsh restrictions on their freedom of movement.

In an Amnesty International report entitled "Automated Apartheid," an extensive field research project conducted in 2022, the researchers accused the IDF of expanding a surveillance network to solidify their control over Palestinians and perpetuate a system of apartheid. The researchers interviewed Palestinian residents, analyzed open-source material and used testimonies from current and former Israeli military personnel provided by the Israeli anti-occupation non-governmental organization Breaking the Silence.

"Palestinian residents of occupied East Jerusalem and Hebron told us how omnipresent surveillance cameras have invaded their privacy, repressed activism, eroded social life, and left them feeling constantly exposed," said Amnesty International Secretary General Agnes Callamard. "In addition to the constant threat of excessive physical force and arbitrary arrest, Palestinians must now contend with the risk of being tracked by an algorithm, or barred from entering their neighborhoods based on information stored in discriminatory surveillance databases."

"This is the latest illustration of why facial recognition technology, when used for surveillance, is incompatible with human rights," she added.

This technology, coupled with a dense network of closed-circuit television cameras, subjects Palestinians to constant observation, which creates a "hostile and coercive environment" that minimizes their presence in strategic areas.

Amnesty International researcher Matt Mahmoudi echoed his boss' statement. "Surveillance has been ramping up as illegal settler activity has also been ramping up,” said Mahmoudi. "Effectively, facial recognition is augmenting, reinforcing, entrenching aspects of apartheid."

Learn more about the weapons being used in Israel's ongoing conflict with Palestinians in Gaza at

Watch this clip from "Reality Rants" on Red Voice Media as host Jason Bermas discusses Israel bringing in AI-powered robots to Gaza.

This video is from the Red Voice Media channel on

More related stories:

Israel is using "assassination factory" AI to choose its bombing targets in Gaza.

Israel eyes preemptive strikes as Iron Dome air defense system faces risk of being overwhelmed.

U.S. Navy warship shoots down missiles and drones fired by Iran-backed militants in Yemen – possibly toward Israel.

Israel illegally deploying WHITE PHOSPHOROUS weapons in Gaza and Lebanon – innocent civilians being killed as churches and hospitals are repeatedly bombed.

Hamas thanks Iran for providing "weapons, money and other equipment" to attack Israel.

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