Passport

Google ‘recognizes’ Palestine

  First the United Nations, now Google. On Thursday, the Palestine News Network noticed that the Internet giant had changed the tagline for the Palestinian edition of its search engine, Google.ps, from the “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine.” The decision comes after a November vote by the U.N. General Assembly to recognize Palestine as a non-member ...

610220_130502_googleoldcrop2.jpg

 

First the United Nations, now Google. On Thursday, the Palestine News Network noticed that the Internet giant had changed the tagline for the Palestinian edition of its search engine, Google.ps, from the "Palestinian Territories" to "Palestine." The decision comes after a November vote by the U.N. General Assembly to recognize Palestine as a non-member state over the objections of Israel and the United States.

Here's how Google.ps looked earlier this year, according to the Wayback Machine Internet archive. The gray words in Arabic below the word "Google" say, "Palestinian Territories."

 

First the United Nations, now Google. On Thursday, the Palestine News Network noticed that the Internet giant had changed the tagline for the Palestinian edition of its search engine, Google.ps, from the “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine.” The decision comes after a November vote by the U.N. General Assembly to recognize Palestine as a non-member state over the objections of Israel and the United States.

Here’s how Google.ps looked earlier this year, according to the Wayback Machine Internet archive. The gray words in Arabic below the word “Google” say, “Palestinian Territories.”

And here’s how the same page looks today, with the word “Palestine” instead:

The change is obviously a minor one, but within the context of the fraught politics of the Middle East, Google’s decision could be interpreted as a victory for advocates of Palestinian statehood who supported Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s recent decision to circumvent the long-stalled, U.S.-supported peace process with Israel.

This isn’t the first time Google has found itself at the center of a geopolitical dispute. In 2010, for instance, a Nicaraguan commander cited a border demarcation on Google Maps to justify a raid on a disputed area along his country’s border with Costa Rica. And in China, Google has been locked in a long-running dispute with the government over censorship and what materials to make available on its search engine. 

As for the company’s latest foray into international relations, something tells me it won’t be enough to jumpstart the moribund peace process.

 Twitter: @EliasGroll

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration of a captain's hat with a 1980s era Pepsi logo and USSR and U.S. flag pins.

The Doomed Voyage of Pepsi’s Soviet Navy

A three-decade dream of communist markets ended in the scrapyard.

Demonstrators with CASA in Action and Service Employees International Union 32BJ march against the Trump administration’s immigration policies in Washington on May 1, 2017.

Unionization Can End America’s Supply Chain Crisis

Allowing workers to organize would protect and empower undocumented immigrants critical to the U.S. economy.

The downtown district of Wilmington, Delaware, is seen on Aug. 19, 2016.

How Delaware Became the World’s Biggest Offshore Haven

Kleptocrats, criminals, and con artists have all parked their illicit gains in the state.