Israel Is Tracking Those Fleeing Gaza

As it prepares to invade Gaza in attempt to drive Hamas out
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 17, 2023 1:47 AM CDT
Israel Is Tracking Those Fleeing Gaza
FILE - Palestinians flee from northern Gaza to the south after the Israeli army issued an unprecedented evacuation warning to a population of over 1 million people in northern Gaza and Gaza City to seek refuge in the south ahead of a possible Israeli ground invasion, on Oct. 13, 2023.   (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa, File)

As Israel prepares for a ground invasion of Gaza amid its war with Hamas, the Israeli military is using cellphone data to track those who are fleeing the area. The Israeli Defense Force allowed the New York Times to observe the system in what the paper paints as an attempt to show it's putting effort into reducing harm to civilians. A live map of northern Gaza, where about 1.1 million people live, shows neighborhoods as white and red if most residents are still there. As the majority of them leave, neighborhoods turn yellow and green. "If you are a brigade commander and you see those colors, it tells you how many civilians are in the area, and you know if you can or can't use your tank, your infantry," one general explains.

Some, however, are not convinced, criticizing Israel for strikes that have already killed many civilians, or pointing out that some Gazans are not able to flee, whether due to fragile health or lack of transportation. And many Palestinians are worried that Israel is simply trying to force them permanently into Egypt (though, so far, negotiations about opening the Gaza-Egypt border to evacuees have gone nowhere). Then there are stories, like the one recounted by CNN, of people in north Gaza who heeded Israel's warnings to flee south, only to be killed by airstrikes there. "There is no place in Gaza that is safe," despite what Israel might tell Gazans, one expert says. As for when a ground invasion might begin, analysts tell the Times it certainly won't be while US President Joe Biden is visiting Israel this week. (Biden says an Israeli occupation of Gaza would be a "big mistake.")

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.