Gaza is often described as the world’s largest open-air prison. Over two million people inhabit the tiny coastal strip, and they must endure a 70 percent unemployment rate; frequent shortages of medical supplies, fuel and clean water; constant power outages; and the fundamentalist governance of the extremist group Hamas. Add to that the Israeli air strikes that knocked down multiple high-rise residential buildings in a war last May—the third war since Hamas seized control of Gaza in 2007.
Gazans who’ve had enough will find it difficult to leave. There’s both a naval blockade and a 40-mile-long border fence barring entry into Israel, complemented by an additional nine miles of steel and concrete walls on the Gaza-Egyptian border. Only a lucky minority are granted permits to pass through checkpoints into Israel or Egypt for work or medical care. But the checkpoints are frequently closed at times of high tension.
And now, in a new dystopian twist out of RoboCop, people defying the border barrier may be confronted by a robotic six-wheeled car blaring warnings from a built-in public address system. And if non-compliant, the robot can address the infraction with a turret-mounted machine gun.