Elkin asks Google to rethink ‘Palestine’ tagline

In letter to Google CEO, deputy FM says company's decision could impact negatively efforts to have peace negotiations.

May 6, 2013 02:07
1 minute read.
Google's Palestinian edition homepage

Google's Palestinian edition homepage 370. (photo credit: Google screenshot)


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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 Palestinian territories.

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“By doing so Google is in essence recognizing the existence of a Palestinian state,” Elkin wrote in a letter to Google CEO Larry Page.

“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 wrote.

“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 organizations.”

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.

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