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New iPhone app tracks Israeli settlement expansion

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"People who are in the middle don't understand our communities are not just a couple of kids on a hilltop," he adds. "They'll understand these are permanent communities and can't be moved around like a Monopoly game. ''

Why few Israelis pay attention to settlement expansion

Despite the fact the settlements are such a hot-button issue here, most of the Israeli public knows little about what's being built beyond the pre-1967 border known as the Green Line – even though more than 300,000 Israelis already live there.

"Most of these settlements are in peripheral areas,'' says Avraham Diskin, a political science professor at Hebrew University, who compared them with frontier towns in the Negev desert. "People aren't familiar with them. Most people don't know the West Bank.''

Five largest Israeli settlements: who lives there, and why

The outbreak of violence during two Palestinian uprisings, the first sparked in the late 1980s and the second 10 years ago today, deterred Israelis from visiting.

With little firsthand knowledge of the changes in the West Bank, few Israelis paid attention to the tripling of the settler population since Israelis and Palestinians began peace negotiations 17 years ago.

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