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Mapping Israeli Settlements in The West Bank – There's An App For That

Mon 20 Sep, 2010 // Firstnumber Team

We live in an age dominated by instantaneous internet access on an unprecedented scale, with the ability to satisfy our every need (almost) through technology. Our increasing demands and expectations for the potential to carry out an infinite array of menial as well as major tasks via smartphone applications is a testament to our growing dependence on digital technology.

However, once in a while a truly useful app with a purpose appears, re-instating our belief in technology's capacity for good. Next to our FarmVille app, just below the Facebook icon, straight above the Tesco logo, lies the new Facts On the Ground app from ANP (American Friends of Peace Now), a Washington-based group in opposition to the continued construction of Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

The service will allow users to access accurate, real-time information regarding Israeli settlement development in the area. The app offers transparent and universal access to the activity on the ground, which has been, up until now, subject to a great deal of red tape or secrecy.

The launch of the service coincides with latest attempts by Israel and Palestine to broker a peace deal which is heavily dependent on the issue of settlement construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Whilst Israel are extremely reluctant to renew their freeze on construction, the Palestinian representatives have threatened to abandon the talks if building work continues.

It is believed that settlement supporters are ready to initiate building work as soon as the moratorium expires on Saturday.

Using a Google-Earth style platform, the app segregates the West Bank into three areas – A, B, and C under the 1993 Oslo accords, in which the Palestinians and Israelis exercise differing levels of authority. The feature also demonstrates the change in border perimeters in relation to their pre-1967 geography.

For many campaigners, this app will provide an invaluable point of reference, keeping them up to date on any activity within the area. With the ability to zoom in on specific areas, as well as extract an historical overview of settlements, the app provides a comprehensive briefing for the user on the changing face of Israeli/Palestinian disputes.

The app is currently available on the iPhone and iPad devices, and is due to become compatible with the Android technology in the near future.

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