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Palestinian killed by Israeli army during rescue mission to retrieve soldiers lost after using mobile directions app ‘Waze’

Israel/Palestine
on 27 Comments

In what began as a case of wrong directions, one Palestinian was killed overnight in Qalandia refugee camp in the West Bank in clashes that broke out between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli forces during an Israeli army rescue mission to retrieve two soldiers who lost their way after marking their course with the mobile directions app Waze.

Omar Iyad Sajdiya, 22, was killed after he was shot in the head during the confrontation that took place between 10pm and midnight Monday. Sajdiya was a student at Al Quds University studying media and communications, according to local media.

Erab al-Fuqaha, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Red Cresent Society, told Mondoweiss six more Palestinians were injured with live-fire, nine with rubber bullets and six were injured from burns and broken limbs “during beatings from soldiers.”

Israeli media reported ten Israeli forces were injured during the rescue operation.

The two soldiers had been traveling between al-Ram and Adam settlement navigating the route with the popular Israeli mobile app Waze, which allows users to update the service’s map. While Waze now includes a number of Israeli checkpoints and military crossings after users made the additions, the map does not allow a driver to see when they are crossing between a Palestinian town and an Israeli settlement.

According to army protocol soldiers are expected to chart their course in advance of motoring in the occupied Palestinian territory and not to rely on phone applications, explained Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon at a press conference in Tel Aviv this morning.

“They used Waze and I always said that, when using GPS, you also need to know how to navigate with a map,” Ya’alon said.

To find the missing soldiers the Israeli army launched the “Hannibal directive” a forceful military operation to find lost men in the battlefield, and the name of an incursion during the 2014 war in Gaza where the Israeli military sought to find captive soldiers.

Iyad Shajdiya was killed during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces Monday night inside of Qalandia refugee camp, in the West Bank. (Photo: Al Quds newspaper)

Iyad Shajdiya was killed during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces Monday night inside of Qalandia refugee camp, in the West Bank. (Photo: Al Quds newspaper)

The Israeli army opened an investigation today into the actions of both the soldiers who went missing and their commanders. The Israeli daily Haaretz reported the inquiry found that once inside of the camp the army vehicle was attacked with stones and molotov cocktails. The soldiers then exited and separated, one taking cover inside of the refugee camp and the other heading off on foot to a nearby Israeli settlement—the Israeli army located him approximately an hour later.

Palestinians then set aflame the army Jeep, which backup teams would later retrieve during the heated rescue operation. 

Haaretz continued the account,

“The soldier who remained in the camp had a cellphone, which he used to contact his commanders. He also used his weapon a number of times, firing into the air. Contact with the other soldier was lost, and when the army realized that contact had been lost with him, the Hannibal protocol was invoked throughout the IDF Central Command area. The soldier was located more than an hour later. Overnight, the IDF extracted the army vehicle, which had been completely burned, from the refugee camp.”

Palestinian media reported one of the missing soldiers hid inside of the camp’s cemetery, which was the focal point of the clashes between Palestinian gunmen and Israeli army reinforcements. Al Quds newspaper, the Palestinian newspaper of record, reported witnesses said they saw helicopters circle overhead, undercover Israeli units dressed as “Arabs,” and army bulldozers all come to aid the missing soldiers.

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Mondoweiss.net. Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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27 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    March 1, 2016, 12:54 pm

    “…witnesses said they saw helicopters circle overhead, undercover Israeli units dressed as “Arabs,” and army bulldozers all come to aid the missing soldiers.” Pathetic.

    “What did you do during the war, daddy?”

    “Sweetheart, during a dangerous mission to find our way in the dark, over well-mapped territory, GPS failed us! One of our men got lost and hid in a cemetery, but after he called in an airstrike we were able rescue him. And none too soon, there was a herd of savage goats lurking nearby!”

    How the mighty have fallen.

  2. Boomer
    March 1, 2016, 1:05 pm

    I first learned about this when the “front page” of GoogleNews highlighted an article from WaPo headlined: “Israeli troops who relied on Waze blundered into deadly firefight with Palestinians.” From WaPo’s wording I incorrectly inferred that the “firefight” was deadly to Israelis. Your headline is more descriptive and, it seems to me, more balanced.

    • Boomer
      March 1, 2016, 8:13 pm

      update: Hours later, the WaPo article is still on the “front page” of GoogleNews, but the headline has been edited to delete the “deadly” description. Perhaps Palestinian deaths don’t need to be mentioned. It now reads: “Israeli troops relying on Waze app blunder into Palestinian area; clashes follow.” I still like your headline better.

  3. aloeste
    March 1, 2016, 1:23 pm

    i somehow doubt you would have tears if the soldiers were dead this morning.

    • echinococcus
      March 1, 2016, 2:26 pm

      Why should anybody? Occupation soldiers are free game. The lesser the better.

    • chocopie
      March 1, 2016, 2:36 pm

      What’s your point?

    • amigo
      March 1, 2016, 2:51 pm

      “i somehow doubt you would have tears if the soldiers were dead this morning.”aloeste

      No more than I would for a bank robber getting shot in the perpetration of a crime.I save my tears for the death of innocent people.

      • a blah chick
        March 1, 2016, 3:35 pm

        Apparently we Mondo-ites just don’t understand Israel’s rules for engagement. Soldiers with bulletproof vests, helmets and assault rifles are sacrosanct, while children wielding knives or scissors can be blown away no questions asked.

      • amigo
        March 1, 2016, 7:09 pm

        “Soldiers with bulletproof vests, helmets and assault rifles are sacrosanct, while children wielding knives or scissors can be blown away no questions asked.” ABC

        That,s easy.We believe all people are equal.They believe , a Jewish life is more valuable than any other.It,s ok to believe that , but they act on that belief. How very reminiscent of Nazi philosophy.

      • Froggy
        March 2, 2016, 10:21 am

        a blah chick :: “Apparently we Mondo-ites just don’t understand Israel’s rules for engagement. Soldiers with bulletproof vests, helmets and assault rifles are sacrosanct, while children wielding knives or scissors can be blown away no questions asked.”

        Have you noticed that unlike soldiers from every other army, Israeli soldiers aren’t captured, but ‘kidnapped’? -LOL-

        Israeli soldier feared kidnapped as IDF names 2 others killed
        http://www.jpost.com/Operation-Protective-Edge/IDF-soldier-feared-kidnapped-369720

        ‘Last resort’ measure used to ensure troops weren’t kidnapped in Qalandiya, army says
        http://www.timesofisrael.com/idf-let-troops-go-all-out-to-prevent-qalandiya-kidnapping-army-says/

        Kidnapped. A child taken from the playground is kidnapped. Adult non-combatents taken against their will are said to be ‘abducted’. Soldiers are captured.

    • Emory Riddle
      March 1, 2016, 3:11 pm

      Better to ruminate on how the other side would feel if something else had transpired than confront the fact that you don’t give two cents about the death of yet another Palestinian.

      Do you honestly have no idea just how repugnant you are? What Zionism has done to you and your community?

    • diasp0ra
      March 1, 2016, 4:22 pm

      @aloeste

      What a strange comment.

    • talknic
      March 1, 2016, 6:29 pm

      @ aloeste March 1, 2016, 1:23 pm

      “i somehow doubt you would have tears if the soldiers were dead this morning”

      And what if we did? Would Israel then suddenly stop its illegal settlement, take its illegal settlers and withdraw to its actual borders? Pay reparations for 68 years of transgressions? Suddenly after more than half a century start to adhere to International Law and the UN Charter?

      Meanwhile, soldiers choose to be possibly dead. It’s their choice. Conscientious objection is the alternative

    • Froggy
      March 2, 2016, 11:01 am

      aloeste :: ‘i somehow doubt you would have tears if the soldiers were dead this morning.

      Why would anyone here shed tears for the brutal soldiers of an occupying army who are killed by freedom fighters?

  4. eljay
    March 1, 2016, 1:53 pm

    Just another day in the lives of hateful and immoral Israeli Devastation in Occupied Territories (IDiOT) soldiers.

  5. wfleitz
    March 1, 2016, 2:07 pm

    I have always boycotted the Waze app. What kind of fool would design an app that encourages texting while driving? How many people have been killed or seriously injured in accidents by people texting information in Waze?

    • Jon66
      March 1, 2016, 6:28 pm

      You do know that there has been a hands free option for about 4 years. It works like Siri.

      • Mooser
        March 1, 2016, 8:56 pm

        Sure didn’t work for the IDF.

  6. echinococcus
    March 1, 2016, 2:22 pm

    What kind of language is “Palestinian gunmen”?
    Can we please stop using Zionist and US propaganda terminology, pretty please?
    Are they armed Palestinians, or Palestinian resistants, perhaps?
    As for arms, all I see in the report anyway is stones and Molotov cocktails. No “gunmen”. Just kids resisting with whatever they have on hand against genocidal attacks.

    • Emory Riddle
      March 1, 2016, 3:19 pm

      Amazing isn’t it? Only Palestinians with no guns can be labeled gunmen! Simply mind boggling the absolute dishonestly of the “mainstream” media.

  7. amigo
    March 1, 2016, 2:47 pm

    “Palestinian media reported one of the missing soldiers hid inside of the camp’s cemetery” .

    You got to love it.This piece of Israeli high tech led the soldier to a “dead end”.He must have been soiling his olive greens wondering if one of those dead Palestinians would do a Lazarus and attack him with a knife.

  8. talknic
    March 1, 2016, 6:36 pm

    ” undercover Israeli units dressed as “Arabs,””

    Just another war crime … The Laws of War – Article 1: ”To have a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance

  9. gamal
    March 1, 2016, 6:44 pm

    yes getting “lost” can be a nightmare, the IRA didn’t take prisoners, oppressed people are tough watch you will see, you know how it goes live by the sword…

    https://youtu.be/fhfgQOLSrTQ

  10. talknic
    March 1, 2016, 6:44 pm

    Palestinian ingenuity at work?

    Waze allows users to update locations.

    Surround the stupid IDF in your neighbourhood with misdirections, watch them sh*t themselves or bravely run away to make a nearby illegal settlement a legitimate military objective

    • John O
      March 2, 2016, 3:07 am

      If the app allows users to override its data, that’s insane. Google wuz robbed when they bought it.

      A simpler explanation is that Waze is a poor product. I was trying out my new app from Britain’s official mapping agency, the Ordnance Survey, while working at a wildlife refuge yesterday. It got my position accurately to within a couple of metres.

  11. lysias
    March 2, 2016, 9:54 am

    Were they hacked? Has Hezbollah given the Palestinians some of its technical expertise?

    • John O
      March 2, 2016, 11:25 am

      No real need to hack Waze.

      Cartographers often put deliberate mistakes into their maps as a means of spotting plagiarism. The Ordnance Survey once sued the Automobile Association after spotting errors copied from OS maps in AA publications; and, as it happens, Google is currently being sued by a company called PhantomAlert , who claim that Waze stole some of their database material. Given the way that users can interact with Waze, it would not be difficult to use it to spring an ambush (see under the heading “Safety and security risk” in Waze’s Wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waze ). This would be one reason why the IDF tells its soldiers not to use Waze . That in turn begs the question of why the IDF doesn’t equip its soldiers with a better app. To which a likely answer would be that Israel does not have good accurate maps of the West Bank and Gaza. Which would also go some way to explaining the carnage wrought by their so-called “precision” weapons.

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