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Did you mean Palestine? Google blames 'removal' on malfunction Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Did you mean Palestine? Google blames 'removal' on malfunction

More than 150,000 people signed a petition after Palestine was removed from Google maps [AFP]

Date of publication: 10 August, 2016

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Widespread backlash has forced Google to respond to claims accusing it of erasing Palestine from its maps which the internet giant claims was just a computer malfunction.
Google has responded to thousands of angry pro-Palestine activists that accused the internet giant of erasing Palestine off the map by blaming the move on a computer malfunction.

The global online leader said labels for West Bank and Gaza Strip were "removed after a computer glitch" – debunking claims by activists who accuse the company of attempting to "falsify history".

"There has never been a 'Palestine' label on Google Maps, however we discovered a bug that removed the labels for 'West Bank' and 'Gaza Strip'," the company said in an email reported by Mondoweiss.

"We're working quickly to bring these labels back to the area."

More than 150,000 critics signed a petition condemning the move on Monday, despite the incident allegedly being implemented as early as July 25.

The move is designed to falsify history, and geography as well as the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland, and a failed attempt to tamper with the memory of Palestinians and Arabs as well as the world

Google 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 Palestinian Journalists' Forum said in a statement.

"The move is also designed to falsify history, and geography as well as the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland, and a failed attempt to tamper with the memory of Palestinians and Arabs as well as the world," the statement continued.

"The omission of Palestine is a grievous insult to the people of Palestine and undermines the efforts of the millions of people who are involved in the campaign to secure Palestinian independence and freedom from Israeli occupation and oppression," reads the petition.

"Whether intentionally or otherwise, Google is making itself complicit in the Israeli government's ethnic cleansing of Palestine," it continues.

In 2013, Google appeased anti-Israel activists when it changed its Palestine homepage label from 'Palestinian territories' to just 'Palestine'.

It followed a historic move in November 2013 which saw the UN grant Palestine the status of a "non-member observer state."

"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 President Mahmoud Abbas, told the BBC at the time.

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