Outrage after Google ‘erases’ Palestine off world map

Published: August 9, 2016
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PHOTO: REUTERS

PHOTO: REUTERS

Thousands have signed a petition urging Google to reinstate Palestine on the maps service after it replaced the partially recognised state’s name with Israel.

Local journalists berated the move as a “failed attempt” aimed at “falsifying history and geography,” according to RT.

A Change.org petition titled “Google: Put Palestine on your maps” has attracted over  150,000 signatures as of Monday, accusing Google Maps of “making itself complicit in the Israeli government’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine” either on purpose or inadvertently. The petition, drafted by Zak Martin, slams the omission of the UN non-member observer state’s name on the map as a “grievous insult” to Palestinians.

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A statement by the Palestinian Journalists’ Forum [PJF] triggered an online campaign against Google. “[This] is part of the Israeli scheme to establish its name as a legitimate state for generations to come and abolish Palestine once and for all,” the statement, cited by the Middle East Monitor, reads.

According to the group, Google removed Palestine’s name completely from its map application by designating all Palestinian territories as Israel on July 25. The journalists have asked the company to fix the error, arguing the controversial decision which is “contrary to all international norms and conventions,” denies the Palestinians “right to homeland” and is merely “designed to falsify history and geography.”

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If one tries to type Palestine into Google Maps search, they will be shown a blank space within Israel’s territory marking the areas of Gaza, Judea and Samaria with a dashed line, without naming them. Angered Twitter users started the hashtags, #BoycottGoogle and #PalestineIsHere with people venting their frustration at Google for apparently taking sides in a protracted conflict. Some even threatened to switch to other search engines or stop using some of its services if the US tech giant sticks to its decision.

Palestine was awarded a non-member observer status at the UN in November 2012 despite vehement opposition from Israel and its ally US. The General Assembly resolution, passed by the absolute majority with 130 countries for, 9 against and 41 abstaining, was hailed by the Palestinian leadership and regular citizens who took to streets to celebrate a milestone decision.

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Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas called the General Assembly’s vote a step toward the Palestine’s official statehood, saying that the body “called upon today to issue a birth certificate of the reality of the State of Palestine.” Following the vote, the PA sent a letter to Google calling on it to include Palestine into its countries’ index. In 2013 the company had satisfied the request changing the tagline on its Palestinian version from ‘Palestinian territories’ to ‘Palestine’. “We’re changing the name ‘Palestinian Territories’ to ‘Palestine’ across our products. We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries. In this case, we are following the lead of the UN…and other international organisations,” Google spokesperson Nathan Tyler said at the time.

This article originally appeared on RT.

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Reader Comments (10)

  • Abrar R
    Aug 9, 2016 - 2:24PM

    If google says tomorrow there is no Pakistan? Chill people. It’s just the internet, it can’t change geography. Palestine is there to stay till the end of time IA.Recommend

  • Rasika
    Aug 9, 2016 - 2:48PM

    This is bad. But it will be very sad if the occasion is used to disrupt work, block roads and destroy public property in the name of solidarity.Recommend

  • Ali
    Aug 9, 2016 - 4:35PM

    I don’t know what the trigger happy anti-Semitic fools are being outraged about. Palestine is still there on the Google Maps. Put Palestine in the search box and you’ll see. Moreover, since Palestine is a disputed state, exactly like the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, or the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh, or the Republic of Abkhazia, and many more, it will not be shown directly as a label on the map but will be shown as dotted lines. But it still there! Calm down people. Israel exists. And so does Palestine.Recommend

  • hammar
    Aug 9, 2016 - 5:09PM

    @Abrar R:
    no matter what you call it. Palestine or Israel, it still belongs to the Jewish Nation.Recommend

  • hammar
    Aug 9, 2016 - 5:13PM

    The Land is known as Canaan, The Promised Land. That is God’s Word. Recommend

  • Fahad Siddique
    Aug 9, 2016 - 5:30PM

    @Abrar R:

    Let’s see this way!

    I come to your house, kick you and your family out and place my NAME PLATE on front of your house main-gate. Me and my family starts living in it!

    Hows That? just be chilled, its still on the map, your house is still there, don’t u worry. You just can’t have it back! its mine now!

    No big deal right?Recommend

  • 12345
    Aug 9, 2016 - 8:27PM

    Terrible of you google!!! Sad to know how insane inhuman people run google. May the same happen to you too!Recommend

  • Rasika
    Aug 9, 2016 - 9:18PM

    @Fahad Siddique:
    Which is exactly what the invaders did in Sindh and the rest of India for centuries. You have no problem owning them as your own.Recommend

  • Whatever
    Aug 10, 2016 - 7:16AM

    Palestine belongs to Jews since they lived there 4000 years ago,but they should not be cruel on Muslims.Recommend

  • Unknown
    Aug 10, 2016 - 11:15AM

    @Ali:

    Anti Semite? Mate do some research and know what does Semite means. Many Jews are Semite but Israelis are not. Try to get yourself educated

    @Whatever

    According to your logic, many areas of US belongs to Mexican because they live there for generations and Spain belongs to Muslims because they lived there for hundreds of years. Grow upRecommend

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