Israel Says Google is Harming Hope for Peace with Palestine
How is this possible?
Israel says Google's 'Palestine' page harms peace hopes
Palestinians hailed Google's move as a virtual
victory on the long path to the state they seek in the West Bank, East
Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, which Israel seized in the 1967 war.
bilateral negotiations stalled for 2-1/2 years over Jewish settlement
building, the Palestinians have campaigned for foreign recognition of
statehood, and were upgraded to "non-member state" at the United Nations
Following the U.N.
lead, Google's Palestinian homepage and other products previously
labeled "Palestinian Territories" were changed on May 1 to read
"I think that the
Google decision from the last few days is very, very problematic," said
Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin, a confidant of Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
company like Google comes along and supports this line, it actually
pushes peace further away, pushes away negotiations, and creates among
the Palestinian leadership the illusion that in this manner they can
achieve the result," he told Israel's Army Radio.
"Without direct negotiation with us, nothing will happen."
Google spokesman in Israel referred Reuters to a statement from last
week in which it said: "We are following the lead of the U.N. ... and
other international organizations."
was furious at the U.N. upgrade last November, which was opposed by the
United States but passed by an overwhelming majority, and reacted by
withholding Palestinian government funds and announcing more settlement
An adviser to Palestinian
President Mahmoud Abbas described the move as a "victory for Palestine
and a step toward its liberation".
had "put Palestine on the Internet map, making it a geographical
reality", the adviser, Sabri Saidam, told the official news agency WAFA,
adding that the Palestinians had invited Google's cartographers to come
and gather more data for their online maps.
Maps currently shows little or no detail for major Palestinian towns
such as Nablus and Ramallah, while many Jewish West Bank settlements
have streets and parks clearly labeled.
said Israeli opposition to Google's new rubric was rooted in fear that
"the recognition will destroy Israel's concept of 'Judea and Samaria'" -
the biblical names that the Jewish state uses for the West Bank.