Race to Recognize Palestinian Villages
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On October 13th, nine Palestinian marathoners will run from Google to Apple to press them to add the hundreds of missing Palestinian villages to their maps.
Mapping matters. Although all three companies say that mapping the occupied West Bank is not a priority, Google and Apple have included the Israeli settlements on their maps. The settlements are illegal under U.S., Israeli, and international law. This year, the Israeli army has demolished more Palestinian homes than in any other year in the past decade to make room for settlement expansion. Part of the reason why they are getting away with this is because the villages are not viewed as permanent. In this age of technology, when our worldview is largely shaped by how things are portrayed on the Internet, it is of utmost importance that Palestinian villages in the West Bank are recognized and given legitimacy by mapping technologies.
That’s why Rebuilding Alliance has been working to press Apple and Google to include Palestinian villages on their maps. We have even provided them with all the necessary data. Now we need to show them that this is a cause people care about.
Palestinian runners from the group Right to Movement, the organizers of the annual Palestine Marathon in Bethlehem, will run from Google to Apple, delivering letters to the heads of the mapping departments requesting that the villages be recognized. These young professionals and students train in Area C of the West Bank, where the missing villages are located. This will be an inspiring event celebrating sport and perseverance, followed by a benefit dinner on Sunday the 16th. The funds raised will go towards Rebuilding Alliance’s continued efforts to put Palestinian villages on the map.
We hope that Congress will play a role in requesting that the companies put the villages on the maps. Many members of Congress have no idea how many villages there actually are, and that the majority of them are at risk of demolition. Our goal is to get 10 constituents in each Congressional district to send a letter or make a call to their members of Congress.