Middle East Monitor / September 7, 2023
A mobile application will allow Palestinians to monitor the traffic situation at checkpoints manned by Israeli soldiers and reduce time wasted waiting there, Anadolu Agency reports.
The app, “Azma” was launched in July by a Palestinian youth but had to be shut down due to legal issues raised by the Israeli authorities.
However, the app was re-launched by the Burj al-Luqluq Social Centre in East Jerusalem.
Israel erects dozens of checkpoints in the Occupied West Bank.
Palestinians must pass through these checkpoints, whether during their movement in the West Bank, when visiting East Jerusalem or for the purpose of reaching their places of work in Israel.
Permits are not required to pass through checkpoints in the West Bank, but are required if passing into East Jerusalem or into Israel for the purpose of work or medical treatment.
These checkpoints face closures or disruptions based on decisions taken by the Israeli army.
Muntaser Dkaidek, Director of the Burj al-Luqluq Social Centre, told Anadolu: “The application was developed by a Jerusalemite youth in 2016. It was initially fairly popular in the Palestinian community; however, as a result of Israeli authorities’ harassment, the youth was forced to withdraw the application.”
Dkaidek said the young man, who preferred not to be named, approached the Burj al-Luqluq Social Centre requesting them to adopt his app.
Since its re-launch last July, dozens of Palestinians have publicized the app on various social media platforms.
The application is available on iOS and Android.
Apart from monitoring traffic at Israeli checkpoints, users can also give updates of the situation.
“So far, 30,000 users have downloaded the app,” Dkaidek said.
“Our slogan is that one minute on the app is better than waiting an hour at the checkpoint,” Dkaidek added.
Dkaidek reiterated that “with the proliferation of smart phones and Internet networks, the app contributes significantly to reducing the time spent during movement within the West Bank.”
“The application includes all checkpoints in the West Bank,” Dkaidek said.
“This app is a very creative idea by this Palestinian youth,” he added.
“The young man who launched the app voluntarily updates it from time to time,” he said.
“The Burj al-Luqluq Social Centre sponsors all the fees required by companies to upload the app to their platforms,” Dkaidek said.
Developing apps to tell their stories
The Centre has launched several applications in the recent period.
It launched “Al-Aqsa Mosque Guard Game”, which “represents a tool for getting to know Al-Aqsa Mosque in a fun and entertaining way,” Dkaidek said.
Dkaidek also said that “the Centre also launched the “Virtual Tours in Jerusalem” app, which presents the history and sites of the Old City of Jerusalem in six languages.”
“My Story” application is another app which transmits “stories to children regarding the history of the displaced Palestinian people.”
The number of Palestinians in the West Bank exceeds 3.25 million, while about half a million Jewish settlers live in the West Bank [excluding East Jerusalem].