A new report reveals how Israel’s increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) in military operations is leading to a higher risk of civilian casualties in Gaza.
Israel’s recent military assault on Gaza has reignited concerns about the targeting of civilian areas and the devastating impact on Palestinian lives. A report by journalist Yuval Abraham sheds light on how Israel is utilizing AI technology to identify targets, leading to a “mass assassination factory” that shows a disregard for Palestinian civilian life. This article explores the implications of Israel’s use of AI in military operations and the consequences it has on civilian populations in Gaza.
The IDF’s response to previous operations in Gaza
Israel’s increasing use of AI in military operations is partly a response to previous operations in Gaza when the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) quickly ran out of military targets. This led to a loosening of constraints on attacks that could potentially harm civilians. The result is a war policy that has a loose interpretation of what constitutes a military target, often leading to civilian casualties. Abraham’s report highlights the devastating consequences of this policy, stating that when a child is killed in Gaza, it is because someone made the decision that it was worth it.
The role of AI in target identification
The IDF has been utilizing AI technology to accelerate the process of target identification in Gaza. In 2019, the military established the Targets Division, which brought together hundreds of soldiers to develop AI algorithms and automated software for target creation. The goal was to address the problem of running out of targets during prolonged operations. According to sources, the rate of target creation using AI tools now exceeds the rate at which Israel can bomb these targets. This has led to an increasing number of targets being identified, resulting in a higher risk of civilian casualties.
Power targets and civilian pressure
One disturbing aspect of Israel’s military strategy is the deliberate targeting of residential high-rise buildings, known as power targets. The military claims that these buildings house military targets, justifying their destruction. However, sources within Israeli intelligence reveal that the primary purpose of targeting power buildings is to exert civilian pressure on Hamas. By attacking buildings with civilian apartments, Israel aims to undermine Hamas’s control and create a sense of terror among the civilian population. This tactic has led to a significant number of civilian casualties, including children.
Loosening of restrictions and disregard for civilian life
The use of AI technology has coincided with a loosening of restrictions on targeting civilians in Gaza. Sources indicate that soldiers knowingly strike targets, even when civilians are present, to save time and accelerate the process. The military has internal regulations that determine the number of civilians likely to be killed in each target file, suggesting a deliberate disregard for Palestinian civilian life. This disregard is evident in the increasing number of civilian casualties during the current assault on Gaza.
International response and calls for accountability
The resumption of hostilities in Gaza has drawn international condemnation, with calls for an immediate ceasefire and accountability for war crimes. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has urged Israel to act in accordance with international humanitarian law and the laws of war. However, the evidence presented in Abraham’s report challenges the notion that Israel is taking adequate measures to protect civilians in Gaza.
Israel’s use of AI technology in military operations has raised serious concerns about the increased risk of civilian casualties in Gaza. The deliberate targeting of residential buildings and the loosening of restrictions on civilian targets demonstrate a disregard for Palestinian civil life. The international community must hold Israel accountable for potential war crimes and push for a resolution that prioritizes the protection of civilians in conflict zones. As the conflict continues, it is crucial to address the ethical implications of AI in warfare and ensure that technology is used responsibly to minimize harm to innocent lives.