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Video: New app tackles traffic at checkpoints in the West Bank

on 4 Comments

In an age where hyper-connectivity and technological advancements mean that fast transportation and instant gratification are expected, traffic jams are the plague of modern development. There is nowhere where the cumbersome experience of sitting in a long tailback is more pronounced however, than the West Bank.

Hundreds of military checkpoints scattered around the occupied Palestinian territory are prone to arbitrarily closure without prior warning, restricting the freedom of movement for Palestinians whose daily lives are already defined by a sense of chaos, temporariness and unpredictability.

However, a new smartphone app Azmeh – which translates to mean ‘traffic jam’ in Arabic – has been designed to tackle this very problem.

20-year-old Basel Sader, a Palestinian student from East Jerusalem who developed Azmeh, explained to Mondoweiss how the smartphone application allows users to post travel updates, receive traffic warning and message other users via an integrated interface. Using a simple color coded system, drivers can now predict and accordingly alter their commutes based on traffic updates at most of the permanent checkpoints.

Sader acknowledged that while the app doesn’t cut to the heart of the problem by challenging the existence of the checkpoints, he hoped that Azmeh is easing what is usually a very burdensome experience for the 11,000 people who have downloaded the app so far.

About Megan Hanna

Megan Hanna is an independent freelance journalist and photographer, based in the occupied Palestinian territories. You can follow Megan on twitter via @Megan_Hanna_.

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4 Responses

  1. Ossinev
    April 12, 2016, 12:57 pm

    This is a very very worrying development as it potentially undermines JSIL`s policy of maximum disruption , inconvenience and humiliation heaped on to the Palestinians in the Stolen Territories and could mean that the gravely ill , gravely injured , heavily pregnant etc could make it to hospitals on time and not die – thus underpinning the ongoing demographic threat to JSIL. Can`t be long before JSIL bans the possession/use of this app by Palestinians as an existentially threatening / JSIL deligitimising/ anti – Semitic terrorist weapon.

    Be careful out there Basel Sader – you may well be arrested and detained in a JSILDF holding cage on suspicion of incitement , existential threatening , deligitimising , terrorist sympathising , anti – Semitic etc etc etc etc yawn yawn without charge and without a lawyer for indefinitely renewable periods .

    On top of that they may well “acquire” your patent and add it to the cherry tomato list of wondrous JSIL inventions.

  2. Talkback
    April 12, 2016, 3:59 pm

    It doesn’t solve the problem directly, but it documents Israel’s ongoing crime of restricting the Palestinian’s right to freedom of movement. I hope that all the data is stored.

  3. JLewisDickerson
    April 13, 2016, 12:34 am

    RE: “Hundreds of military checkpoints scattered around the occupied Palestinian territory are prone to arbitrarily closure without prior warning, restricting the freedom of movement for Palestinians whose daily lives are already defined by a sense of chaos, temporariness and unpredictability.” ~ Megan Hanna

    SEE: “Permanent Temporariness”, by Alastair Crooke, London Review of Books, 03/03/11:

    [EXCERPT] . . . A decade ago, I was a member of Senator George Mitchell’s staff on his first foray into the region, after he was asked to head a ‘fact-finding committee’ into the causes of the second intifada. Even then, Livni’s vision was evident in the Israeli strategy of excluding Palestinians from the body politic while making them subject to its methods of control. The Occupied Territories assumed an elastic, shifting geography in which the rule of law was suspended under cover of the law. It was [Ariel] Sharon who pioneered the philosophy of ‘maintained uncertainty’ that repeatedly extended and then limited the space in which Palestinians could operate by means of an unpredictable combination of changing and selectively enforced regulations, and the dissection of space by settlements, roads Palestinians were not allowed to use and continually shifting borders. All of this was intended to induce in the Palestinians a sense of permanent temporariness. Maintaining control of the Occupied Territories keeps open to Israel the option of displacing Palestinian citizens of Israel into the Territories by means of limited land swaps. It also ensures that Israel retains the ability to force future returning refugees to settle in their ‘homeland’, whereas a sovereign Palestinian state might decline to accept the refugees. It suits Israel to have a ‘state’ without borders so that it can keep negotiating about borders, and count on the resulting uncertainty to maintain acquiescence.

    Israel’s vice-premier, Moshe Ya’alon, was candid when asked in an interview this year: ‘Why all these games of make-believe negotiations?’ He replied:

    Because … there are pressures. Peace Now from within, and other elements from without. So you have to manoeuvre … what we have to do is manoeuvre with the American administration and the European establishment, which are nourished by Israeli elements [and] which create the illusion that an agreement can be reached … I say that time works for those who make use of it. The founders of Zionism knew … and we in the government know how to make use of time. . .

    SOURCE –

  4. xanadou
    April 13, 2016, 12:26 pm

    This is brilliant! on do many levels. From proving that non-violent resistance works, to disproving the Israeli characterisation of Palestinians as “two-legged beasts”. Hopefully it will inspire Palestinians to trade the ineffective rockets, rocks and knives – for education. A population that knows how to side-step the crude blows thrown by their oppressor, wins.

    The only “weapon” that the obdurate and obtuse Israeli zios fear is a highly educated Palestinian population able to come together to create a constructive, non-violent intellectual infrastructure ready to tackle the many problems that will come with the coming Independence and forged under extreme present duress.

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