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Palestinian Artist, Israeli Mapping Experts: put missing Palestinian Villages on the map
Congress to press Google, Apple to Correct Map Error
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3:47 PM (21 hours ago)

to info
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 14, 2016

Media Contact:
Tamsin Avra | (650) 651-7165 | contact@RebuildingAlliance.org

Palestinian artist and Israeli mapping experts meet Congress,
hold Mapathon to press Google, Apple to map missing Palestinian Villages

November 14, 2016 Washington, DC C will be meeting with Congressional
offices to ask their help to press Google and Apple to update their
depiction of the West Bank to show what is actually there. Next, the team
will fly to Silicon Valley where they`ve asked to meet the tech giants
mapping teams and, in celebration of GIS Week, hold a mapathon to add key
sites in each village to Open Street Map, and if possible, to Google Maps
and Apple Maps too.

Thousands of children and families in Area C of the West Bank (the
territories controlled entirely by Israel) cant locate their homes on Apple
or Google maps, or on Waze (Googles subsidiary), said Nava Sheer, a GIS
mapping expert at Bimkom: Planners for Planning Rights. They are real
locations C however, in the virtual mapped world of the Web, they simply
cant be found. In todays online society, thats as good as saying you
dont exist.

Currently Google Maps and Apple Maps show Israeli settlements and outposts,
which are illegal under international law and violate official US policy,
while erroneously depicting an empty countryside. Google Maps are missing
some 230 Palestinian villages and Apple Maps are missing nearly all 850
towns and villages. Here`s what the Google maps show now, and via animation,
what they should be showing instead.

I mapped my workshop on Google maps using their Add a Missing Place
feature, but in fact, my whole village is missing, said Eid Suleiman
Hthaleen, the artist from Umm Al Kheir whose exhibition in Berlin was
recently sponsored by Chinese dissident artist, Ai WeiWei. My village owns
clear and undisputed title to our land, however the settlement next door
cannot say the same.

Rebuilding Alliance, an American nonprofit, scheduled meetings with
Congressional offices after hundreds of constituents emailed their
legislators. This is Geography Awarness Week, so Thursday, with help from
the Palestinian Coalition of the Bay Area, the team is holding a community
Mapathon in Silicon Valley to work with Palestinian villagers and to map
places of interest and send #HeresMyVillage photos to Google and Apple via
social media.
Both Google and Apple have received our GPS map data and both have told
Congressional offices that there are no policy impediments to proceeding,
said Alon Cohen-Lifshitz, an architect and urban planner who leads Bimkoms
analysis and assistance to Palestinian communities in the West Bank. Were
here to help Google and Apple work through implementation details and we
hope they will meet with us.
####

About the speakers and orgs:
Eid Suleiman Hthaleen is a peace activist and self-taught artist from the
Palestinian Bedouin village of Umm al Kheir, one of the villages that is not
yet shown on Google or Apple Maps. He is a member of the Saaheb Collective,
a group of friends and artists from the South Hebron Hills who use art and
creativity to bring about social change. Eids work, depicted here in an
award-winning video, was recently exhibited in Berlin at the invitation of
Chinese dissident artist Ai WeiWei who visited Eid in Umm al Kheir.
BIMKOM C Planners for Planning Rights is an Israeli non-profit organization
formed in 1999 by a group of planners and architects, in order to strengthen
democracy and human rights in the field of planning. Spatial planning plays
a crucial role in determining the quality of our life and environment, as
well as the prospects for socio-economic development and well-being of
individuals and communities alike.

Nava Sheer, an urban planner, is the Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Coordinator at Bimkom C Planners for Planning Rights in Jerusalem. Born in
Bristol, Pennsylvania, Nava holds an MS in urban planning from Hunter
College and BS in political science from Yeshiva University. Nava manages
Bimkoms mapping projects in affordable housing and social justice, working
with Palestinian communities in Israel, East Jerusalem, and Area C of the
West Bank.

Alon Cohen-Lifshitz is an architect and urban planner who leads Bimkoms
activities in the West Bank, He joined Bimkom in 2004 and has been working
directly with Palestinian villages to appeal decisions imposed by the
Israeli civil administration and change Israeli planning policy regarding
Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank. A graduate of the Bezalel Academy
of Art and Design, he also studied Art for Social Change at the Musrara
School of art in Jerusalem and has been involved in many exhibitions.
Rebuilding Alliance, is a 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to
rebuilding war-torn communities and making them safe. Rebuilding Alliance
opened fourteen years ago with a life-affirming vision: a just and enduring
peace in Palestine and Israel founded upon equal rights, equal security, and
equal opportunity for all. Rebuilding Alliance is asking Americans to send
emails to their members of Congress who can better get Google and Apples
attention.
Donna Baranski-Walker is Executive Director of Rebuilding Alliance and was
awarded Special Congressional Recognition by Rep. Barbara Lee, Rep. Anna
Eshoo, and Rep. Loretta Sanchez. Donna was recently awarded Rotary District
5150s Service Award and received the Rachel Corrie Conscience and Courage
Award from the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Orange County.
In 2010, Donna was awarded the Medal of Gratitude before 27,000 people at
the Gdansk Shipyard. Her work in the Middle East began in 1990 with a
NYTimes op\ed, Small Lights in the Darkness, just before the 1st Gulf
War.

The Palestinian American Coalition of the Bay Area is made up of many
Palestinian-American organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area, working
together to unify, strengthen, and preserve the culture of the Palestinian
community. They organize Palestine Cultural Day in Golden Gate Park each
year, and hold numerous speaking events to raise funds to meet education and
humanitarian needs in Palestine.

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