New iPhone app tracks Israeli settlement expansion
As Israeli settlement building resumes after a 10-month freeze, the antisettlement group Peace Now has unveiled an iPhone app featuring daily updates.
With building ramping up again in West Bank settlements after Israel's 10-month moratorium expired Sunday, the antisettlement group Peace Now is hoping to get Israelis more in touch with what's happening there – literally.
A new iPhone app called "Facts on the Ground" allows users to zoom in on Google satellite images of the West Bank, where little blue Monopoly-style houses denote the size of each settlement – 123 in all.
Additional layers, such as red shading to denote illegal outposts or a blue line for Israel's separation barrier, can be selected with a tap of the finger for more context. Users interested in finding a specific settlement can select it from a list and be directed to a close-up view of the area, as well as information on when it was established and how the population has grown since then.
The application – launched in English by Peace Now's American branch, with plans for a future Hebrew version – highlights the myriad data necessary to get an accurate picture of how Israeli settlements are developing.
Peace Now's stated purpose of the application, which has a certain PR element to it, is to "democratize" information about the settlements – a goal shared by settlers themselves, even if they're seeking to persuade Israelis in an opposite direction.
"It's obvious [Peace Now's] agenda is to make the information available to hurt us,'' says David Haivri, a settler spokesman who lives in the settlement of Kfar Tapuach. "But it can be used to our advantage, because our supporters are interested.