AMMAN: A mobile application that can help you find which political party or movement best fits your ideals has been converted for Palestinians.
The Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC), working with German foundation Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, has developed Busala.org, a tool that asks you a set of questions and matches your answers with publicly declared positions of Palestinian groups.
Ghassan Khatib, director of the JMCC, told Arab News that the project has two goals: “It moves the discussion from that of individuals, tribes, and traditional ways of choosing lists to that of programming of the various groups vying for your vote. It also helps parties understand what are the desires and aspirations of the electorate that they are seeking to attract.”
The Palestinian version was fed publicly stated positions of the various Palestinian factions on political, social, and economic issues facing Palestinians.
The questionnaire ranges from support for the two-state solution and Oslo Accords, to backing armed struggle and perspectives on whether a woman or a Christian-Palestinian can become president of Palestine. It also has economic questions, engaging respondents on their positions on Islamic banking.
After filling out the application, which takes a few minutes, the voter should have a better-informed view of the party they are closest to.
A veteran Fatah supporter told Arab News that she was surprised that the result of the application showed that Fatah was her second choice. “Imagine this result, I never expected that. The app will not decide who I will vote for but it is a helpful tool to let one think of the different parties and factions running.”
Khatib told Arab News that the project has struggled with vague public positions of some groups, which fit a broad range of opinions.
“This is one of two problems we have not only in Palestine but in many countries. The other problem is the fact that the left-wing groups in Palestine are very similar on social, economic, political, and gender-based issues.”
Yousef Shomali, owner of Radio Bethlehem 2000, told Arab News that he was surprised to find out that he is close to the Mubadara (initiative) movement headed by Mustafa Barghouti. Hamada Hamada, a Gaza activist, told Arab News that even though he has always believed he is an independent, the application put him close to one of the main factions.