No, Google Maps Did Not Delete Palestine

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Mainstream and social media outlets in the Middle East are demanding that Google relabel "Palestine" on its Maps.

The outrage comes after a Gaza City-based journalism group early this month released a statement claiming the Web gaint had wiped the nation of Palestine from its digital maps service. In its proclamation, the Forum of Palestinian Journalists said it "condemns the crime carried out by Google to delete the name of Palestine," and calls for Google to rescind its decision and apologize to the Palestinian people.

Google Maps Palestine

This move to "falsify history and geography" and deny the Palestinian people's right to their homeland is "a failed attempt [to] tamper [with] the memory of generations of Palestinians and Arabs," the Forum added.

There's just one problem: Google Maps never used the "Palestine" label, and therefore never removed it, either, according to a source close to the company. The Internet could instead turn its attention to a bug within Maps that has temporarily removed labels for the "West Bank" and "Gaza Strip"—an issue Google is currently working to remedy, the source said.

A search today results in an unlabeled area, delineated by a dashed line stretching from Jenin to Hebron and from Jerusalem to Jordan—the "West Bank," considered a "de jure sovereign state" since 2013 by the United Nations.

That's the same view Zak Martin saw five months ago, when he launched a Change.org petition for Google to add Palestine to its map.

"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," according to the petition, which is still nearly 38,000 signatures shy of its goal.

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