Google recognizes Palestine

Google changed tagline on Palestinian edition from “Palestinian territories” to “Palestine.”



Internet giant Google took a symbolic step this week, changing the tagline on the homepage of its Palestinian edition from “Palestinian territories” to “Palestine.”

Google's Palestinian edition homepage

Google’s Palestinian edition homepage

The move marks another victory for the Palestinian Authority, after it won a historic upgrade at the United Nations General Assembly in November, gaining the status of non-member observer state. Following the vote, the PA officially changed its name to the State of Palestine, with stamps, signs and letterheads reflecting the decision.

“We’re changing the name ‘Palestinian Territories’ to ‘Palestine’ across our products,” Google spokesman Nathan Tyler told the BBC on Friday.

“We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries,” he added. “In this case, we are following the lead of the UN, Icann [the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO [International Organisation for Standardisation] and other international organizations.”

“This is a step in the right direction, a timely step and one that encourages others to join in and give the right definition and name for Palestine instead of Palestinian territories,” Dr Sabri Saidam, advisor to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, told the BBC in response to the move.

Israel received the news less warmly. “This change raises questions about the reasons behind this surprising involvement of what is basically a private internet company in international politics, and on the controversial side,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor, told AFP news agency.


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