NGOs Post Online Games to Show Palestinian Plight

Two short, interactive games claim to give visitors a sense of the Palestinian travails in the face of Israeli bureaucracy.

Human rights organizations are hoping to rouse Israelis out of what they see as apathy toward the Palestinian plight by posting interactive Flash computer games on their Websites.

Palestinians at the Gaza border fence, June 2, 2010

Two short, interactive games - one offered jointly by Bimkom, an NGO that focuses on building and planning rights, and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel; and the other by Gisha, an organization that champions Palestinian freedom of movement - claim to give visitors a sense of the Palestinian travails in the face of Israeli bureaucracy.

The game on the Gisha site, which is called "Safe Passage," focuses on what it describes as Israel's policy of severing the West Bank from the Gaza Strip. It includes a Flash presentation that details the hassles ordinary Palestinians face in selling their wares or traveling between the West Bank and Gaza.

Users can choose between three characters - a female Gazan who wishes to study at a West Bank university, a Gaza-based ice cream manufacturer who cannot sell in the West Bank, and a Palestinian who relocated to Qalqilyah only to be arrested by Israeli authorities and sent back to Gaza.

The other game, posted by Bimkom and ACRI, allows the player to help residents of a Palestinian village construct new homes in order to keep up with the natural population growth. While settler construction is given automatic approval, the Palestinians are repeatedly denied in their attempts to obtain the necessary permits.

Bimkom and ACRI aim to use the game as an avenue to promote their "Action a Day" initiative, which is aimed to ensure Palestinian rights in the territories.

"The residents of the village of A-Tawana are trying to gain access to running water and they are trying to exercise their right to build homes on privately owned land," the ACRI Website said. "But there is no running water, and there is no chance of building homes without obtaining a permit."