In Israel, Palestinians say Israel is using the virus to step up surveillance of Palestinians and advance its plan’s to annex portions of Palestinian West Bank.
Netanyahu has long held out promises to his base to formally annex the Jordan Valley and various settlement blocs in parts of the occupied West Bank — a move that the United States has effectively approved, including through the Trump administration’s “Deal of the Century,” but which the European Union continues to oppose.
Israeli authorities recently required that Palestinians with pending permit requests — for work, travel, medical access, or other reasons — download an application to their smartphones.
Dubbed “Al-Munasiq,” or “the Coordinator” in Arabic, the application’s permissions include consent authorizations that grant the Israeli security services access to a user’s contacts, microphone, camera, and location data.
While the application itself is not officially mandatory, because Israeli civil administration offices are closed due to the coronavirus, West Bank Palestinians are compelled to turn to the new program in order to monitor their permit’s validity.
As for Israelis, they have more protection. The Israeli Supreme Court said Sunday that the government must obtain legislation authorizing the use of intrusive cell phone tracking technology before the program can continue.
The Supreme Court said the government must begin legislation on the matter by April 30 and complete it within a few weeks if it wants to continue using the phone tracking data. “The state’s choice to use its preventative security service for monitoring those who wish it no harm, without their consent, raises great difficulties and a suitable alternative, compatible with the principles of privacy, must be found,” the court said on Sunday.