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Israel invests in high-tech upgrades at West Bank crossings

In this Thursday, July 11, 2019 photo, Palestinians stand in front of a biometric gate as they enter Israel at the Qalandia crossing in Jerusalem. Israel’s military has invested tens of millions of dollars to upgrade West Bank crossings and ease entry for Palestinian workers. But while the upgrades may have eased crossing for Palestinians entering Israeli daily for work, critics say they are a sign of the ossification of Israel’s 52-year occupation of the West Bank and slam the military’s use of facial recognition technology as problematic. (AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner)

Israel’s military has invested tens of millions of dollars to upgrade West Bank crossings and ease entry for Palestinian workers.

But while the high-tech upgrades may have eased crossing for Palestinians who enter Israel every day, critics say they’re a sign of the ossification of Israel’s 52-year occupation of the West Bank.

Before, Palestinian labourers with work permits would wake up in the middle of the night to arrive at the crossings before daybreak. Metal fenced entryways were often packed with people before dawn, waiting for the gates to open.

Now, after the $85 million upgrades, crossing can take around 10 minutes, even during the morning rush hour. While much of the rest of Jerusalem is still asleep, hundreds of Palestinians stream through for work, medical appointments or family visits.

Ilan Ben Zion, The Associated Press