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War on Gaza: the effect of Israel’s use of AI warfare; Palestine conference in Johannesburg

Sameera Casmod |
4 December 2023 | 11:13am CAT
2-min read

Gas from Israeli gas bombs casts the Khalifa Bin Zayed school in Beit Lahia, Northern Gaza, in an eery fog. (Picture: Screengrab/ eyeonpalestine)

Over the weekend, more than 60 Israeli soldiers were killed, bringing the total number of IDF soldiers to over 401, according to some reports, although information remains scant. Many IDF soldiers express fear about frontline combat against Hamas, equating it to “fighting ghosts.”

The Gaza Strip is facing severe devastation, with a rising death toll since the end of a week-long pause on December 1, 2023. Hostilities resumed after Hamas was accused of breaking the truce, leading to air strikes, heavy shelling, and casualties. The accusations serve as an excuse to resume carpet bombing Gaza.

In the last 24 hours, 700 people were killed in Gaza, according to a Palestinian official. The total death toll in Gaza since October 7, 2023, is at least 15 500.

Israeli military operations and AI technology

Israel has resumed a ground offensive in the south of Gaza and is reportedly utilising artificial intelligence (AI) technology, specifically the “Habsora” system, to identify and expand potential targets.

Large amounts of information entered into the AI system powers the advanced warfare. Potential targets for Israeli airstrikes are produced by the Habsora system, which translates from Hebrew to “The Gospel”. These targets are then confirmed by members of an intelligence unit.

The AI technology is being used to deliberately target civilian infrastructure, resulting in a significant increase in civilian casualties.

The Habsora system is described as a “mass assassination factory,” generating targets at an unprecedented rate. It has been operational since the 2021 Guardians of the Walls Operation, producing 100 new targets daily. The AI technology processes vast amounts of data to identify and attack private residences suspected of housing Hamas members.

The Israeli military’s use of AI has been criticised for intentionally targeting civilian infrastructure, putting “civilian pressure” on Hamas. The report alleges that the military is aware of the estimated number of civilians who will lose their lives in attacks on automatically generated targets.

Global solidarity with Palestine

The Fifth Global Convention of Solidarity with Palestine, themed “Nelson Mandela and Palestine: Confronting Racism till Liberation,” commenced in Johannesburg. The event commemorates the 10th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s passing and the launch of the Global Campaign to Return to Palestine.

Mandla Mandela, Nelson Mandela’s grandson and tribal chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council, called for support for Palestine in the fight against racism and oppression. The convention aims to address the issues facing Palestine and involves delegates from various countries, including a senior Hamas delegation.

Hamas delegation in South Africa

A senior Hamas delegation, including politburo member Bassem Naim, Hamas representative in Iran Khaled Qaddoumi, and Hamas representative in East, Central, and Southern Africa Emad Saber, has arrived in South Africa to participate in the convention.

The delegation emphasises the right of every Palestinian to the land of their forefathers and calls for the liberation of Palestine from imperialism, occupation, racism, and the effects of the ongoing genocidal war on Gaza.

The convention has drawn participants from diverse backgrounds, including senators, humanitarian groups, academics, members of parliament, politicians, and journalists. Pro-Palestine supporters have recently staged demonstrations in Cape Town and Johannesburg, calling for an immediate ceasefire amid escalating violence in Gaza.


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