US-Israel pilot project for passengers control

The US and Israel have launched a joint pilot in the framework of Custom and Border Protection. Janet Napolitano, US Secretary of State of Homeland Security, announced it speaking at the Interdisciplinary Center of Herzlyiah on Monday, where she also remarked the importance of international partnerships for maintaining security and maximize the chances of success.

One of the most popular American politicians, Napolitano was the governor of Arizona from 2002 to 2009, when she was appointed by President Obama as Secretary State for HLS, first woman holding this office.

Napolitano opened her speech remarking the importance of the state of Israel as a friend and a partner of the United States. During her last visit to Israel, the third since the beginning of her mandate, Napolitano met PM Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, with the aim to develop new ways to cooperate on the security front.

With Israel, the US holds a strong partnership with Israel especially in the field of immigration and custom enforcement, in preventing terrorists and criminals to trade and use dangerous weapons and in the field of cyber-security:  issues common to the two countries. Israel and the US also collaborate in the development of technologies capable to detect nuclear and explosive devices.

But one of the most important aspects of this partnership is related to the so-called ‘risk-assessment’ of unknown passengers and cargo entering into the national borders. In this process the collection of information from foreign sources is fundamental. The information is then analyzed in order to intercept and intervene on suspicious people and goods. Napolitano announced on Sunday the launch of a pilot with Israel as part of the US global entry system. The system collects information voluntarily submitted by the travellers, including their fingerprints. In exchange, the travellers receive a microchip that is integrated in their passport allowing them to quickly pass the immigration controls at the US frontier.

Napolitano declared she was very excited about this pilot, because it will allow a better allocation of resources that will be focused on unknown travellers.

Napolitano also declared Israel is a wonderful model for distaster response, from which the US can learn.

During the last part of the conference, students were allowed to ask questions, that focused in particular on the Iranian threat and asked for comments on the Arab Springs. Yet Napolitano did not bring any new element to the discussion and simply referred to what was stated by the US Ambassador in Israel, Dan Shapiro.

The affinity between Israel and the US in the security cooperation goes on. The speech of Secretary Napolitano made clear that, despite the differences, especially in size, the two countries can learn from each other and the new pilot is the last proof of a strong technological partnership.

About the Author
Alessia Levi is a graduate student at the MA program in Government at IDC Herzlyiah and an intern at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs where she is researching anti-Semitism and anti-israelism in the Italian media and society.