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iPhone, Yahoo! divide Jerusalem
June 11, 2010 02:45
Weather services now offer east and west Jerusalem.
iPhone, Yahoo! divide Jerusalem

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Although final status issues regarding Jerusalem may be among the most difficult facing Israelis and Palestinians in any future peace negotiations, iPhone users over the past week have noticed that the Apple-issued device’s weather application has already come to a conclusion on the city’s future and has simply divided it between east and west.

Last week, iPhone users began complaining that the pre-installed application, which is provided by the Web search engine Yahoo!, had suddenly begun to offer two options when they attempted to update the location on their weather settings – either “West Jerusalem” or “East Jerusalem” – despite the fact that neither of those demarcations exist in the official lexicon of the Israeli government, and such a division could only be finalized through a political accord with the Palestinian Authority.

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Furthermore, on Yahoo!’s online weather page, which is linked to The Weather Channel, the division is also apparent, with a prompt for location settings offering a number of US towns named “Jerusalem,” followed by “Jerusalem, Yerushalayim, Israel” and then “Jerusalem, West Bank, Palestine.”

Although both sets of weather are exactly the same, the first choice renders the location of the forecast as “Israel >Yerushalayim > Jerusalem,” while the second renders the location as “Palestinian Occupied Territories >West Bank >Jerusalem.”

Among those who have taken notice of the change are Ambassador to the US Michael Oren, who sent a letter of protest to Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Yahoo!’s CEO Carol Bartz last week.

In his letter, Oren said that he himself was a fan of Apple’s products and that employees at the Israeli embassy in Washington, DC used the iPhone, but that he was disappointed and surprised that “Jerusalem, which has been united for 43 years, [had] been divided by the computer giant and the popular search engine.”

Phone calls to Apple’s public relations line were not returned on Wednesday, and an e-mail sent to the listed Yahoo! PR representative was resent with a failed delivery notice.

Nonetheless, Simon Plosker, the managing editor of Honest Reporting, which works to expose bias in the media with regards to Israel, said that his group was planning on picking up the issue, and would begin alerting HR’s subscribers immediately.

“I noticed the issue sometime last week, when I tried to update my weather settings and it just wouldn’t update,” Plosker, himself an iPhone user, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

“When I refreshed the locations option, I saw that now there were two options – ‘West Jerusalem’ and ‘East Jerusalem’ – being offered.”

“Whoever is responsible for this has unilaterally divided Jerusalem,” Plosker added. “And let’s face it, it’s not as if any part of Jerusalem is in a different climatic zone. This looks like a political attempt to predetermine the outcome of future negotiations.”
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