At least twice a week, Ahmed Zaytoun drives from his Ramallah apartment to the Palestinian village of Hizma to visit family. To get there, he has to pass through the Qalandiya checkpoint, one of the biggest military checkpoints in the West Bank, which is notorious for traffic.
“Sometimes you have to wait 1-2 hours to get through,” said Zaytoun, 28, who was born and raised in Ramallah, a mostly Arab city a few miles north of Jerusalem. Other times, there are violent clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli soldiers there, and the checkpoint gets shut down completely. "It's very unpredictable."
So he had an idea: make an app to tell people if the checkpoint is open, and if so, how long the wait is to get through. He built the app and named it “Qalandiya.” It became available in the Apple App Store last month, and was getting hundreds of downloads right away.