- By Uri Friedman
Uri Friedman is deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy. Before joining FP, he reported for the Christian Science Monitor, worked on corporate strategy for Atlantic Media, helped launch the Atlantic Wire, and covered international affairs for the site. A proud native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, he studied European history at the University of Pennsylvania and has lived in Barcelona, Spain and Geneva, Switzerland.
If the Israel-Hamas conflict, the Palestinian Authority’s U.N. statehood bid, and Israel’s planned settlement expansion have you feeling powerless about resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, you may just be in luck. The Atlantic has partnered with the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace and SAYA/Design for Change to create a data-heavy interactive tool that allows you to choose the Israeli settlements to annex as part of the creation of a Palestinian state. The Atlantic‘s Zvika Krieger explains how it works:
The challenge is to include as many Israelis as possible within Israel’s new borders while still allowing for the creation of a contiguous and viable Palestinian state. Former negotiators as well as numerous scholars and NGOs have tried their hands at this task; now it is your turn.
Users are presented with a map of the West Bank, and can pick which settlements they think should be included within Israel’s borders as part of a final-status agreement. Hovering over each settlement will show its population numbers and how disruptive its annexation would be for Palestinian contiguity. (Users can also select settlements to include or exclude from a list of settlements, organized by population size or alphabetically.) Users can also see the most recent Israeli and Palestinian border proposals (as well as the route of Israeli security barrier and the Geneva Initiative’s border proposal) grafted onto the map as a reference point in devising their own border.
For every settlement a user chooses to include within Israel, a ticker at the bottom of the page tabulates how many of the 500,000 Israelis living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem would be included or excluded from Israel’s new borders. It also calculates how much land would be annexed – which is the amount of land that Israel would likely have to swap to Palestinians from within Israel proper. When users are satisfied with their Israeli annexations of the West Bank, they are shown scenarios of what land from Israel would be swapped to the new Palestinian state. Finally, the tool allows users to create a printable and savable version of the map they created, which can be shared on Facebook, Twitter, and across the web.
Try your hand at the nitty-gritty of conflict-resolution here (the screenshot above shows a scenario in which Israel annexes roughly 3 percent of the West Bank where around 400,000 Israelis live). I haven’t felt this in control of world affairs since I singlehandedly selected the year in which China will overtake the United States as the world’s largest economy.
Hey, if the Israelis and Palestinians can move their fighting partially online, perhaps they can digitize the peace process as well.