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IDF uses drones to drop teargas on Gaza Strip protestors

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The second method used by the IDF for teargas disbursement involves the drones spraying protestors as if they were applying fertilizer to crops. This method has the ‘downside’ of making the gas less concentrated but, as a plus, it is less likely to cause death.

A screengrab of an Israeli drone spraying teargas on Gaza protestors

A map of the Gaza Strip

The European Union’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has pled for “utmost restraint” during the current crisis.

“Dozens of Palestinians, including children, have been killed and hundreds injured from Israeli fire today, during ongoing mass protests near the Gaza fence. We expect all to act with utmost restraint to avoid further loss of life,” she said in a statement.

The two million inhabitants of Gaza are essentially prisoners in their own land. They are surrounded by watchtowers and barbed wire fences and it is an extremely difficult process for them to be granted permission to leave Gaza.

Their government since 2007 is run by Hamas, considered by both the United States and the European Union as a terrorist group for their targeting of Israeli civilians and for firing from civilian locations such as schools and hospitals. Critics of Hamas state that this tactic is meant to goad Israel into retaliation which inevitably leads to many Palestinian deaths.

Gaza citizens are having a rough time all round, to put things mildly.

Potential future implications of drones dropping teargas on protestors?

Israel may be among the first countries to use drones to drop teargas on protestors but they will not, in all probability, be the last. This potential for this tactic to be adopted by other countries may come as a worry to those people around the world living in authoritarian regimes.

One can easily imagine, given the relatively low-cost of drones and their potential to control so-called ‘troublesome’ people from a distance – that they would be seen as attractive option for authorities in any country with less than stellar human rights.

We recently reported about how drones with facial recognition software may be used by US authorities to monitor US protestors. Given those types of moves and the increasing militarization of US police, it is not totally out of the realm of possibility that these sorts of tools eventually end up in the US as well. Let us home that is not the case.

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