A nightmare unfolded late Monday evening after two Israeli soldiers drove into a West Bank refugee camp, a move that triggered a deadly riot. Though the popular GPS app is denying responsibility the Israeli soldiers are still pointing their fingers, saying it was the popular Waze App that caused them to make a wrong turn into the Palestinian refugee camp.
When all was said and done there one person was left dead and 16 more were injured. Naturally, the Google-owned Waze App is pushing back on the claims by the Israeli soldiers that it was the GPS directions that led them into harm’s way, ultimately inciting the riot that saw molotov cocktails being hurled at their vehicle.
The clashes broke out Monday night after the two soldiers accidentally entered the Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem, the Israeli Defense Forces said.
A “mob” directed gunfire, rocks and Molotov cocktails at their military vehicle, the IDF said. In a military rescue mission to extract the soldiers, a 22-year-old Palestinian student was killed, four other people were wounded by live ammunition and 12 more were injured by rubber bullets, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.
Israel said five Israeli border police officers were injured. A spokesperson told NBC News that the IDF was aware of reports that one person had been killed but wouldn’t comment further.
So I think we can establish that the riot sounds like it was pretty fucking scary. However, the Google owned Waze App responded, denying any and all responsibility in the riot, and gave some pretty substantial reasoning as to why the Israeli soldiers were the ones at fault here:
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said in a speech near Tel Aviv that the two soldiers used Waze to get from Jerusalem to the West Bank city of Ramallah 10 miles to the north.
The soldiers weren’t familiar with the area, and the app took them by the shortest possible route — which was directly through the refugee camp, Yaalon said.
Waze, an Israeli-founded company that Google bought in 2013 for $1.3 billion, said the soldiers had misused the app.
Waze said its app “includes a specific default setting that prevents routes through areas which are marked as dangerous or prohibited for Israelis to drive through.” But that setting was disabled, said Waze, which didn’t explain how it had determined that.
In any event, “the driver deviated from the suggested route and as a result, entered the prohibited area,” Waze said.
Waze noted that there are prominent signs on the road in question prohibiting access to Palestinian-controlled territories by Israelis and said, “Unfortunately, there is no ability to prevent [such incidents] altogether as ultimately some prudence is in the driver’s hands.”
So it sounds like they deliberately ignored instructions to NOT go through the dangerous West Bank, a move that ultimately led to an innocent bystander losing their life and the injury of sixteen others. I’m not pointing fingers here, but I also cannot begin to fathom how these dudes drove into an area like that without realizing what they were doing. Even if you’ve never been to the West Bank or Gaza you likely have seen images of the security checks and enclosed areas.
I think it was Anthony Bourdain who did a show there and the barricades looked like West Germany before the Berlin Wall was torn down. So I just cannot wrap my mind around how the two Israeli soldiers drove into a West Bank refugee camp without realizing what they were doing. I’m guessing that more information will come to light in the coming days, but I doubt we’ll get any resolution in this case.
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