A data analyst has put together an interactive map to help make sense of the stabbings, stone-throwings and other violence in recent weeks between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.
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“When we’re exposed to breaking news and screaming headlines about attacks we miss a lot of small incidents .... The data let us see an increase or decrease in the volume of incidents,” says Nehemia Gershuni-Aylho, who during the day works for ad agency Baumann Ber Rivnay.
“They let us understand whether there really are places that are more or less liable to be dangerous; they let us see patterns.”
Gershuni-Aylho and other activists decided to study the events after discovering a pattern of stone-throwing at buses near the Hizme crossing northeast of Jerusalem. The attacks happened at regular times in the evening.
Later, other patterns were apparent. For example, most clashes between Palestinians and the security forces took place after school or work, mainly on Fridays at 2 P.M. after Muslim prayers.
The data made clear the peak period came in mid-October, followed by the current decline. The hot spots have been Hebron followed by Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and the northern part of the West Bank.
Gershuni-Aylho and his colleagues are also following attacks against Palestinians by Jews, but he says many incidents go unreported and the data are insufficient.
Also during the Gaza war in the summer of 2014, Gershuni-Aylho kept a record of Israeli operations. And during this year’s election campaign he created Project 61, which strove to evaluate the quality of preelection polls and, like now, make the information accessible to the public.
“I work as an analyst in an organization that understood the need for data analysis – not necessarily Big Data but the general use of information that flows around us all the time. This field enters every area of our lives,” he says.
“The right way to do tracking like this is to make the information as accessible as possible to the public. That way you can download the table of events and analyze it with your own tools and find things I didn’t find. And anyone can change and improve the quality of the information – a kind of crowdsourcing.”