Adonis Diaries

Archive for November 19th, 2015

New apps help Palestinians navigate Israeli checkpoints


A pair of new mobile apps hopes to help Palestinians navigate their way around snarled traffic at Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, offering a high-tech response to an intractable problem:

constant, burdensome and often seemingly random restrictions on movement.

“Azmeh, or Me2azmeh” which means traffic jam in Arabic, and “Qalandiya,” the name of a major Israeli checkpoint on the outskirts of Jerusalem, join a slew of other global traffic apps, including the Israeli-developed Waze.

 Andrew Bossone shared a link.

What sets the two Palestinian apps apart is how they go beyond daily rush hour traffic and touch at the heart of a central Palestinian criticism of Israeli occupation.

They are designed to run on slow local networks — a necessity because Israel has not granted Palestinian telecommunication companies swifter 3G access.

The free apps, launched over the last month, are still in their infancy, with only a few hundred downloads each.

But as they grow in popularity, their developers say the crowdsourced apps present a partial solution to the jams that checkpoints cause, and they hope will catch on with drivers.

The occupation affects the Palestinian people from all aspects, and takes from them lots of rights. One of those rights is the freedom of movement,” said Basel Sader, 20, a Palestinian resident of east Jerusalem and a law student at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University who developed Azmeh. “This application can’t give them the freedom of movement but it can make things easier for them.”

Israel operates a series of checkpoints that dot the West Bank and separate it from Israel, restricting travel for Palestinians on a number of roads.

When tensions are heightened, a 120-mile (200-kilometer) jaunt from the southern tip of the West Bank to the north can become a complicated journey that could take hours.

Checkpoints pose particular problems for Palestinians who want to enter Israel for jobs, family visits, medical care or to pray. (Checkpoints are designed to harass and humiliate Palestinians)

Israel says the restrictions are meant as a security measure, and officials note that the number of military checkpoints has been greatly reduced as violence has subsided over the last decade.  (Bull shit)

But Palestinians see the limits on movement as a form of collective punishment that disturbs their routine and can often include intrusive and humiliating searches by guards.

In contrast, Israeli settlers can travel freely in and out of Israel and pass quickly through military checkpoints set up to protect their communities.

Palestinians need permits to enter Israel, as well as Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, and must pass through Israeli-controlled border crossings to enter neighboring Jordan.

This dual treatment also affects Palestinian travel inside the West Bank. Well-maintained, high-speed roads serve settlements and connect them to each other and Israel.

Palestinians are not expressly barred from using these roads, but the highways usually bypass Palestinian communities.

Many of the roads connecting Palestinian areas are decrepit and in poor condition. In times of conflict, Israel also puts up additional military checkpoints that can slow or halt movement between Palestinian towns.

The apps could relieve a bit of that burden. For now, they are used mainly for checkpoints separating Israel and the West Bank, where drivers are often stuck for hours in a tangle of traffic.

The apps are relatively basic.

With Azmeh, users can post updates about the status of the hold-up at a checkpoint, using green to mark no traffic, orange for moderate and red for heavy, allowing other users to choose to divert to other, less clogged checkpoints. For now, the app tracks traffic at half a dozen checkpoints.

Qalandiya also has users mark the level of traffic at the checkpoint, using green, red or yellow car icons. Users can also inform others if the checkpoint has been closed.

Unlike Waze, the apps do not time the wait at a checkpoint or suggest a different route. Users must decide that on their own.

Milena Ansari, a 21-year-old from east Jerusalem who studies at Birzeit University in the West Bank, drives through the Qalandiya checkpoint every day and uses the Azmeh app.

“I check it every morning when I wake up and decide which road to take,” she said.

If Qalandiya is backed up, she said she takes a longer but less congested route through a smaller checkpoint. She said she sends reports in whenever she crosses.

The apps themselves are hobbled by Israeli restrictions.

According to interim peace agreements, Israeli authorities control cellular networks in the West Bank and they have not granted Palestinian telecommunication companies 3G access, meaning many data-heavy apps cannot be used on the road. Palestinians who choose to subscribe to an Israeli cellular provider can access 3G.

Drivers using the apps connect through 2G, a previous generation of wireless technology that is sluggish.

“The limitations of the Internet connectivity cause us problems,” said Ahmed Zaytoun, the developer of Qalandiya. “When I worked on the application, I made sure that it wouldn’t need a high speed (connection).”

Palestinians have been using social media like Whatsapp and Facebook groups to share traffic updates but Zaytoun said users were posting unrelated content that made navigating the groups cumbersome.

Mashhour Abu Daka, a former Palestinian minister of telecommunications and information technology who now works as a consultant, welcomed the apps but said they could only go so far in assisting Palestinian motorists in the face of Israeli restrictions.

“It will be helpful. But it would be even more helpful if we didn’t have checkpoints,” he said.


Associated Press writer Tia Goldenberg contributed to this report from Jerusalem.

Dear Syrian Refugees: Sorry, but Look at it from our Perspective

The Native Americans trusted us: We learned not to trust immigrants.

In 1938, 70% of university students in the USA refused Jews from central Europe to immigrate.

They were transferred to Israel.

Thank you for your interest in fleeing to [STATE]! As you are aware, our state is a rainbow of humanity, positively bursting with opportunities for the weary who wash up on our welcoming shores.

Truly, the promise of America is made manifest nowhere as clearly as [STATE]!

 Tyler Huckabee essay was selected as one of the top posts of the day

Dear Syrian refugees:

We regret to inform you that we will be unable to accept your desperate gamble for safety and freedom at this time.

We can imagine your disappointment at this news. But before you start getting all bent out of shape, look at it from our perspective.

The United States was founded upon one principle above all others: freedom and justice for all.

However, that’s not a principle we’re particularly interested in discussing in this letter, for reasons that aren’t worth getting into here.

Another important principle of the American way of life is that you can’t trust anyone.

Indeed, our nation’s first inhabitants—Native Americans—trusted our own ancestors to be kind and peaceable immigrants. Just look how that turned out.

Ever since then, the American people have been very cautious about who we allow to take part in the profound and revolutionary idea that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Obviously, you can’t just let anyone in on that kind of deal.

We know you’re not a terrorist. But what if you were?

Some of you guys are, you know. The last thing we want in America are young, dangerous, mentally unstable men who are liable to start shooting at any moment. Horrible thought.

Put yourself in our position. What if it was your family that was potentially in danger, forced to keep checking over your back, never knowing if you were truly safe?

What if it was you who could never look your child in the face without knowing whether or not it was the last time?

Can you imagine that kind of life?

Surely, you would do everything in your power to keep your family away from such horrors.

So you can understand why we are denying your request to live in [STATE]. The risk is just too high.


Again, thank you for your interest in fleeing wanton violence to [STATE].

We regret that we were unable to accept your bid for a better future at this time, but we assume you can understand our position and how in these troubled times, the only safe thing to do is send the tired, poor and huddled masses yearning to breathe free back to where they came from.

We’re sure that if our situations were reversed, you would do the same thing.

Note: The republican candidates might admit Christian Syrian refugees, in good standing. Like the policy in Poland, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia…

Rumors and toxic misinformation circulating about Paris attacks

Dans le sillage des fusillades à Paris et en région parisienne, de nombreuses réactions de soutien ont émergé sur les réseaux sociaux.

Mais aussi des rumeurs et de fausses informations.

Le gouvernement a mis en garde contre la propagation de ces rumeurs et édité un guide de bonne conduite, les #MSGU, ou pratique des Médias sociaux en gestion d’urgence.

Voici les principales, ainsi que l’explication de leur caractère erroné.

The summary:

Jamil Berry shared this link

Le Monde serait bien inspiré de faire la même chose sur la politique otanesque et française en Irak, en Syrie et en Libye.

Il ne s’est rien passé hier à Strasbourg, on ne compte pas quatre policiers tués, et l’extrême droite n’a pas incendié la « jungle » de Calais…

1. Non, quatre policiers n’ont pas été tués

Des chaînes d’information et quelques sites ont diffusé durant la nuit une information erronée évoquant quatre policiers tués en neutralisant les assaillants au Bataclan, qui s’est répandue très rapidement.

Elle n’a pourtant pas été confirmée par les autorités. Un policier a été blessé, mais aucun n’aurait perdu la vie dans l’exercice de ses fonctions.

En revanche, un policier en civil, qui n’était pas en service, a été tué rue de Charonne.

Un commissaire a également été blessé au Bataclan alors qu’il assistait au concert des Eagles of Death Metal.

2. Non, il n’y a pas eu de fusillades aux Halles, à Belleville ou à République

D’autres médias ont pu donner des informations non avérées, comme dans ce tweet, très relay

En réalité, il n’y a eu aucune confirmation sur des fusillades ou des victimes aux Halles, à Belleville, au Trocadéro ou à République. Les fusillades ont eu lieu au Bataclan, à la terrasse de deux restaurants proches de la place de la République, rue de Charonne et à la terrasse d’un autre café, proche de la place de la Nation.

Lire aussi : Attaques à Paris : le point sur l’enquête et le déroulé des attaques

La carte des attentats du 13 novembre à Paris.
La carte des attentats du 13 novembre à Paris. Le Monde

3. Non, il n’y a pas eu de rassemblement de soutien en Allemagne

Un cliché a beaucoup circulé sur les réseaux dès vendredi soir, présenté comme un rassemblement de soutien en Allemagne, suite aux fusillades en France. En réalité, il correspond à une manifestation du mouvement anti-immigration allemand Pegida, Comme le note cet internaute sur Twitter.


4. Non, cette photo ne montre pas le Bataclan avant la tuerie

Un autre cliché souvent aperçu sur les réseaux, est présenté comme une photo du Bataclan avant les tueries.


Or il n’en est rien. D’après le groupe lui-même, il s’agit de l’Olympia à Dublin, une photo publiée jeudi 12 novembre.

5. Non, il n’y a pas eu d’intervention du RAID à Strasbourg

Autre information rendue virale par des comptes « influents », un prétendu assaut des forces d’intervention de la police à Strasbourg. Comme on peut le voir, le tweet cité par ce compte date du 31 octobre et non d’hier

En outre, aucune intervention du RAID ou du GIGN n’a été signalée à Strasbourg à la date du 31 octobre ou hier. Bref, l’information n’a rien de vrai, et ressemble surtout à un moyen pour certains comptes Twitter de faire un peu de « buzz » en marge d’une tragédie nationale.

6. Non, l’Empire State Building n’était pas tricolore et la tour Eiffel ne s’est pas éteinte

Certes, des hommages ont eu lieu à l’étranger depuis vendredi, mais non, l’Empire State Building ne s’est pas éclairé aux couleurs du drapeau français, comme en témoigne le correspondant de BFM aux Etats-Unis

En réalité, c’est la Freedom Tower, la tour construite à l’emplacement du World Trade Center, qui a illuminé son antenne aux couleurs de la Fran

Mais ces clichés, qui ont beaucoup circulé, datent en réalité d’autres périodes.

Même chose avec la tour Eiffel, supposément éteinte pour les victimes vendredi. En réalité, l’édifice, illuminé tous les soirs et qui scintille normalement une fois par heure, s’éteint chaque nuit à partir d’une heure du matin. Il ne s’agissait donc pas d’un hommage, mais de son fonctionnement normal. En revanche, elle a bien été éteinte samedi de manière délibérée.

Autre « fake », assumé mais parfois pris au sérieux par les internautes, le monument aux morts de la guerre d’indépendance à Alger illuminé aux couleurs françaises.

L’auteur du tweet, l’équivalent algérien du Gorafi, reconnaît lui-même qu’il s’agit d’un montage Photoshop.

7. Non, un incendie criminel n’a pas ravagé la jungle de Calais

Autre information qui a beaucoup circulé, notamment via une photo datant en réalité du 2 novembre (une bombonne de gaz avait explosé) : un incendie dans la « jungle » de Calais, cet ensemble de camps de fortune où les migrants attendent avant de tenter la traversée vers le Royaume-Uni




November 2015

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