In this Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015 photo, a Palestinian driver shows an application on his mobile phone as he waits in traffic to enter Jerusalem at Qalandia checkpoint between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Ramallah. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)
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QALANDIYA CHECKPOINT, Palestine: A pair of new mobile apps hopes to help Palestinians navigate their way around snarled traffic at Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank, offering a high-tech response to an intractable problem: constant, burdensome and often seemingly random restrictions on movement.Israel operates a series of checkpoints that dot the West Bank and separate it from Israel, restricting travel for Palestinians on a number of roads.Checkpoints pose particular problems for Palestinians who want to enter Israel for jobs, family visits, medical care or to pray.In contrast, Israeli settlers can travel freely in and out of Israel and pass quickly through military checkpoints set up to protect their communities.Palestinians are not expressly barred from using these roads, but the highways usually bypass Palestinian communities.With Azmeh, users can post updates about the status of the hold-up at a checkpoint, using green to mark no traffic, orange for moderate and red for heavy, allowing other users to choose to divert to other, less clogged checkpoints.Users can also inform others if the checkpoint has been closed.The apps themselves are hobbled by Israeli restrictions.
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