Israeli investment platform has eyes on UAE for AI development
Tel Aviv has been bolstering its use of AI and machine learning tools in the occupied Palestinian territories in a bid to crush dissent and profile citizens
By News Desk - November 17 2022

(Photo Credit : Reuters/Christopher Pike)

The opening of a new artificial intelligence (AI) center in Abu Dhabi was announced on 16 November by the Israeli investment platform OurCrowd. According to the CEO of OurCrowd, the action would aid in luring AI professionals to the capital of the Emirati nation.

OurCrowd wants to develop an AI tech hub in Abu Dhabi with an initial investment of over $60 million, according to the company’s press release.

“We intend to develop core AI technology by attracting some of the world’s best AI talent to Abu Dhabi, which not only is a great place to do business and access world markets but also to live and operate in an exceptional business environment,” Jonathan Medved, CEO of OurCrowd, told Al-Monitor.

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz announced on 7 July that Israel had signed more than $3 billion in arms agreements with regional countries since the implementation of the so-called Abraham Accords.

The Abraham Accords were a series of US-sponsored normalization treaties signed in 2020 between Israel and several Arab states, including Bahrain and the UAE.

However, Israel’s most active venture firm is not just any regular investment platform for tech and start-ups. It actively invests in military technology and whitewashes its use by promoting it to make the lives of civilians easier.

One of its blog posts from 2017, for example, describes how mPrest, a company developing software for Israel’s Iron Dome, is also using its technology to prevent blackouts.

Israel’s high-tech development and the military have been intertwined since the 1980s, when Israel began to invest heavily in military technology. Over the years, young conscripts applied the skills and knowledge they learned from the military to build their start-ups and feed their technology into the military.

Meanwhile, Israel has been accused in various reports of testing its military technology on the Palestinian population and then advertising it on international markets as battle-proven technology.

“The laboratory of the occupied territories is where things can be fine-tuned, they can be tested, they can be retested,” said Neve Gordon, a politics professor at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

On 15 November, the Israeli army ordered the West Bank Military Division to raise the state of alert in the occupied West Bank for 72 hours in anticipation of retaliatory operations by Palestinian groups targeting Israeli settlers and soldiers while expanding the use of its automated weapons in the area.

A month ago, the Israeli army installed the same automated weapons in Hebron.

Thanks to a $1.2 billion contract with US tech giants Google and Amazon, Israel has acquired advanced artificial intelligence (AI) and machine-learning tools expected to worsen human rights abuses in occupied Palestine.

The move was protested against by the tech-giants own employees in a “Day of Action,” demanding the cancellation of the Project Nimbus contract over Israel’s constant human rights violations.

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