New app makes boycotting West Bank settlements a touch easier
Ahead of settlement freeze expiration, Israeli bloggers release 'Buy no Evil' Android application to raise consumer awareness.
Israeli bloggers have recently released a new Android application geared toward informing users whether or not their potential purchases were manufactured in one of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
The bloggers behind the new application are Noam Rotem and Itamar Shaltiel, who run the "Activism is an Open-Source Code," blog, recently released the settlement-boycotting app, naming it "Buy no Evil."
In a message posted on the blog ahead of the app's release, Shaltiel wrote that Buy no Evil was "developed as part of the Activismos.com open-source project, and allows the insertion of a detailed product list, thus allowing consumers to deicide whether or not they wished to support this or that product."
"It can be used to, for example, avoid buying products tested on animals, products originating from settlements in the occupied territories, or to support green products," the message said.
However, citing the upcoming expiration of Israel's settlement freeze, Shaltiel said the "first list fed into the app is that of products made in settlements, based on the information gathered by the Gush Shalom organization."
"Buying a product means supporting the producer, and while we do not advocate a consumer ban, we do believe that people should be aware of which manufacturers they support," the message added, saying that the Android app could be downloaded free at the Android market.
The announcement of the new Android app came after the leftist non-profit Peace Now introduced a new iPhone app earlier this week, meant to aid users track the growth of settlements in the West Bank.
The application presents a map on which the settlements are marked as little blue houses. When clicking on a house, the user sees the settlement's name and the territory it occupies.
Another click brings up a window with more detailed information, such as the year of establishment, whether the settlement is economic or ideological, population type (secular/religious and national-religious ), the expanse of private Palestinian land used by the settlement and a graph tracking population growth. Outposts are presented on the map in red.
Peace Now promised to update the map in real time, including the setting up and dismantling of outposts, and to track "violence by Palestinians or by settlers." The organization hopes the application becomes an instrument of tracking the situation in the West Bank as it evolves, and promises to develop Hebrew and Android versions. The application is free to download and to use.
"We get a lot of phone calls and emails with all kind of inquiries about the settlements and we wanted to have one place with all the information," said Uri Nir, spokesman for Americans for Peace Now.
"We realized we have a lot of data and a lot of graphic information, and then there's this wonderful tool, Google Maps. So we brought together aerial photographs and Central Bureau of Statistics information and other data and made it into a website, and then we decided to tap into the popularity of iPhone and iPad apps."