With the security situation in the West Bank deteriorating in recent months and frequent clashes between Israeli troops and Palestinians, a Washington-based think tank is aiming to provide a full picture of the events with a new visual tool.
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) on Wednesday launched an interactive map that tracks individual incidents in the West Bank and Israel since March, when the Israel Defense Forces began a major crackdown following a series of terror attacks.
The site, say its authors, will record and provide accurate, unbiased information about the IDF’s operations, ensuing clashes and Palestinian attacks on Israelis.
“Our goal is to show the uptick in violent militant activity in the West Bank, and that it’s not just isolated to Jenin and Nablus, but a lot of areas in the West Bank, and you can see how extensive the violence is,” Joe Truzman, an FDD research analyst focused on Palestinian terror groups, who is responsible for the map’s data, told The Times of Israel.
Truzman said the think tank picked the beginning of the IDF’s operation as a starting point for its recording activity, though violence in the West Bank constantly ebbs and flows.
The IDF launched its anti-terror offensive, mostly focused on the northern West Bank, in the spring to deal with a series of Palestinian attacks that have left 31 people dead since the start of the year.
The operation has netted more than 2,500 arrests in near-nightly raids, and has left more than 165 Palestinians dead, many of them — but not all — while carrying out attacks or during clashes with security forces.
“You hear about it in the news but we want to explain it visually so a reader can get a better understanding of what is happening. That’s our goal here, to show how extensive the clashes have been,” Truzman said.
He said the data is sourced from official IDF statements, major media outlets, local outlets, and some local sources on social media. The sources, Truzman said, “are all available for people to look at. It’s not being pulled out of thin air.”
He added that the site is constantly updated with new events.
FDD said it hopes the site will be used by both average readers who want to know more about the conflict, and international organizations or NGOs looking for organized data regarding the violence in the West Bank in the past year.
The FDD describes itself as a Washington-based “non-partisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.” It has been described as hawkish on issues related to Iran.