The US Law Restricting Satellite Imagery of Palestine-Israel | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

The US Law Restricting Satellite Imagery of Palestine-Israel

Bipartisan legislation passed by the US Congress in 1997 limits the quality and availability of aerial photography of Palestine-Israel. The Kyl-Bingaman Amendment (KBA) to the US National Defense Authorization Act was passed under the pretext of protecting Israel’s national security. It prevents US satellite operators and retailers from selling or disseminating images of Palestine-Israel at a resolution higher than that available on the non-US market. The amendment’s interpretation has been confusing and contradictory in terms of meaning, geographical scope, and legal implications. Its result has been over two decades of limited access to clear aerial photography of Palestine-Israel.

The kinds of research carried out with geospatial data include environmental, geographic, and humanitarian surveys. From an archaeological, geographical, geological, and botanical perspective, high-resolution imagery enables researchers to understand, identify, and document landscape changes. The KBA is in fact an act of censorship, posing serious obstacles for the preservation of cultural heritage and the monitoring of the decades-long Israeli occupation, including documenting home demolitions, territorial disputes, and settlement growth.

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