The Israeli military has installed robotic weapons that can fire tear-gas, stun-grenades and “non-lethal” bullets in two volatile locations on the West Bank. One is atop a turret at al-Aroub refugee camp; the other in the nearby city of Hebron, where soldiers often clash with Palestinian residents. When young protesters pour into the streets hurling rocks and improvised firebombs at Israeli soldiers, the robotic weapons unleash gas and projectiles on them, according to witness accounts. The robo-weapons, produced by Israeli firm Smart Shooter, use artificial intelligence to track targets. Israel says the technology saves lives—both Israeli and Palestinian. But, as YNet states in its Nov. 16 report on the installation, “critics see another step toward a dystopian reality in which Israel fine-tunes its open-ended occupation of the Palestinians while keeping its soldiers out of harm’s way.”
The European Union is at this moment calling for an urgent investigation into the Israeli army’s killing of a 15-year-old Palestinian girl, Fulla Masalmeh, during a raid in the town of Beitunia near Ramallah on Nov. 14. The army said the girl was in a vehicle that not heed calls to stop and sped towards soldiers—an account rejected by witnesses and Fulla’s family. In a statement, the EU offered condolences to the Masalmeh family, adding that Fulla was supposed to celebrate her 16th birthday that day, “but was tragically killed by gunfire from Israeli soldiers.” (MEMO, BBC News)
In a report issued Nov. 1, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) found: “So far, 2022 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank, on a monthly average since the United Nations started counting fatalities systematically in 2005.” October was the deadliest month in 2022 so far, according to a count by Middle East Eye, with 29 Palestinians slain. This was the highest monthly toll since December 2015.
At least five of those who died in October after being shot by Israeli security forces were boys. The youngest was Mahmoud Mohammad Samoudi of Jenin, 12, who died in hospital on Oct. 10 from gunshot wounds he sustained during an army raid twelve days earlier.