Over the past year, the Israeli army has accelerated its programme to install a comprehensive network of surveillance cameras and “other monitoring devices” across the West Bank, Haaretz reported yesterday.
The paper said that the plan aims to monitor the movement of Palestinians 24 hours a day, and to assist in the early detection of attacks against Israeli targets.
According to the paper, more than 1,700 cameras have been installed on roads, intersections and in illegal settlements across the West Bank.
Haaretz said, according to the PNN, that the army believes more cameras deter terror attacks and can aid in gathering intelligence that can help to capture perpetrators.
The improved signals intelligence capabilities of the Shin Bet security service [Israeli equivalent of the FBI] and Military Intelligence were an important component in Israel’s response to attacks by terror cells affiliated with Hamas, Fateh and Islamic Jihad, during the Second Intifada, Haaretz added.
“Today’s challenges, however, are different. Most terror attacks are carried out by ‘lone wolves’, acting without the backing of an organisation, or by small, independent local cells.
“This development has made visual intelligence technology a more significant part of the Israeli defense programme.”
In addition to the cameras, the army has also expanded its network of surveillance balloons.
According to Haaretz, the army’s goal is to “expand the system until there is a camera at every intersection and in as many Israeli vehicles in the [occupied] territories as possible.”