Google's Palestinian edition homepage 370.
(photo credit: Google screenshot)
Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin accused Google Inc. of recognizing a
Palestinian state when it decided on May 1 to include Palestine in its list of
options for national pages.
Previously, it had used the tagline
“By doing so Google is in essence recognizing
the existence of a Palestinian state,” Elkin wrote in a letter to Google CEO
“Such a decision is in my opinion not only mistaken but could
also negatively impinge on the efforts of my government to bring about direct
negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority,” Elkin
“Google has brought about so many positive changes in the world by
promoting connections between people and between peoples. This decision,
however, is in contradiction to such aims, and distances the parties from real
dialogue,” he said.
“I would be grateful were you to reconsider this
decision since it entrenches the Palestinians in their view that they can
further their political aims through one-sided actions rather than through
negotiating and mutual agreement,” he added.
He asked Page to meet with
Israeli representatives to discuss the issue.
Google spokesman Nathan
Tyler told the BBC last week, “We’re changing the name ‘Palestinian Territories’
to ‘Palestine’ across our products. We consult a number of sources and
authorities when naming countries. In this case, we are following the lead of
the UN, ICANN [the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO
[International Organization for Standardization] and other international
The United Nations has not accepted Palestine as a member
state in its organization of 193 nations. However in November, the General
Assembly agreed to upgrade its status to that of a nonmember state. The UN has
since then agreed to refer to it as the State of Palestine, even though it has
not been accorded full state rights.