App MishapApp Mishap

Oops! Waze directs soldiers to Palestinian city

Two uniformed Israeli personnel, aiming to get to Jordan Valley, are returned safely from Tulkarem by PA security forces

Illustrative photo of Tulkarem (screen capture: YouTube)
Illustrative photo of Tulkarem (screen capture: YouTube)

Two IDF soldiers drove into the Palestinian city of Tulkarem on Sunday after Waze, an Israeli-developed mobile-phone application, directed them through the off-limits area (to Israeli citizens) en route to the Jordan Valley.

The soldiers, who were armed and in uniform, were intercepted by Palestinian policemen, who directed them back to Israeli territory. Their return was coordinated with the IDF Civil Administration, which manages cooperation with Palestinian security.

The soldiers were unharmed in the incident.

Tulkarem, which has a population of over 50,000 people, is located in the northern West Bank, and is under full Palestinian Authority rule, also known as Area A.

Waze — created in Israel in 2008 and sold to Google in 2013 for $1.1 billion — provides navigation instructions to drivers, including traffic conditions and road hazards, and has an estimated 50 million users worldwide.

The Waze app has a setting which, if selected, allows drivers to “Keep within areas under Israeli authority.” It is not clear if the absence of setting this option was the cause of the soldiers entering Tulkarem.

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