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Did Google and Apple Remove Palestine From Maps? The Truth is Uglier

A map with the colours of the Palestinian flag reading ‘Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine’ near Bilin. – Reuters

Zafar Aafaq | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — A section of social media users on Twitter were angry after someone pointed out that Google and Apple had removed Palestine from their maps. They said the tech giants were trying to “erase” Palestine.

However, the truth is bitter than what appears.

If you search Palestine on Google maps, a geographical boundary named only Israel will crop up with a territory marked by lines with present-day Palestine but without the label. But there is nothing new about it as it has always been like this since Google came up with the maps utility in 2005.

Moreover, this has often stirred up a hornet’s nest in the past as well. The netizens accuse Google and Apple of being biased against Palestine while peddling the Zionist cause.

Nevertheless, the issue again cropped up on Thursday with supporters of Palestine expressing their outrage against Google and Apple, terming the decision as “disrespectful”.

One user wrote: “I’ve checked on Gmaps, and It’s true: they completely removed #Palestine from worldwide maps.”

“How is it even possible? Disrespectful.”

 “Why would they even think of erasing the name of a country off the map??????” asked another user.

A UK-based news outlet Express quoted a Google spokeswoman, saying: “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’.

“We’re working quickly to bring these labels back to the area.”

Around 135 countries recognize Palestine as independent but most of the countries, including the United States, where Google and Apple are based, does not see Palestine as an independent state.

Backed by western powers, Israel has used violence to expand its control over the Palestinian areas, including laying claim on Gaza strip and West Bank. The controversy comes at a time when Israel is planning to go ahead with the annexation of the West Bank despite opposition from several countries and human rights activists.

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