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'Safe Passage' Turns Israeli Gaza Blockade Into a Game

screenshot from 'safe passage'
To most people, the Israeli blockade of ships entering Gaza doesn't exactly sound like game material. But one Israel-based, non-profit organization has seized upon the ongoing crisis to create an online game in the hopes of highlighting what they perceive as misguided Israeli policy.

The game, called 'Safe Passage,' was created by Gisha: Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, a multi-religious organization that fights to establish the free movement of Palestinians. Players can choose from three character types: an ice cream vendor trying to get his product into the West Bank market, a young woman who's been accepted to a West Bank university, and a father trying to return to his family in, of course, the West Bank. Each archetype must face different challenges along the journey: the student must use a flying hat to convince a military mailbox to look at her university application, the ice cream man must avoid giant coins, and the father begins his odyssey by being launched from his West Bank home into Gaza.

"We faced a challenge - how to make military documents accessible to the public," animator Gilad Baker explains. "Our solution was to integrate them into the personal stories of real people in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, to help people understand the policy." According to Palestinian Notes, the three characters and their respective stories were based on real individuals, and, as the New York Times reports, the game is available in English, Hebrew or Arabic.

It may be easy for some to write off the game as a direct manifestation of biased geopolitics, or as another piece of cleverly disguised propaganda. But doing so would, in effect, ignore the larger point that Gisha's making. Does the organization have a political agenda? Of course -- but it's also an agenda that's supported by a variety of ethnic and religious groups. Besides, concrete politics, to a certain extent, seems almost like a footnote to this game. 'Safe Passage' may criticize Israeli policy, but it forces the user to reflect upon the fundamental inanity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. By taking real, personal stories and placing them within an inherently absurd political context, Gisha effectively reminds us that beneath the almost farcical political "game" lies a very human, and far more important narrative. [From: New York Times]

Tags: flash games, FlashGames, Gaza, GazaStrip, Israel, onlinegaming, palestine, PalestinianConflict, politics, safe passage, SafePassage, top, videogames, west bank, WestBank