Palestinian groups launch campaign to put 'Palestine' on Google Maps

This campaign is following last week's viral Instagram post from user astagfirolah, which accused Apple and Google of removing the label "Palestine" from their respective digital world maps.

A map with the colors of the Palestinian flag reading 'Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine' near Bilin.  (photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
A map with the colors of the Palestinian flag reading 'Jerusalem is the eternal capital of Palestine' near Bilin.
(photo credit: MOHAMAD TOROKMAN/REUTERS)
The Palestine Digital Rights Coalition, the Palestine NGO Network and the Palestine Council of Human Rights Organizations launched a campaign with the hashtag #GoogleMapsPalestine, following the removal of the labels "West Bank" and "Gaza Strip" last week from Google Maps, in order to bring the label 'Palestine' on the worldwide maps.
This campaign is following last week's  viral Instagram post from the user astagfirolah, which accused Apple and Google of removing the label "Palestine" from their respective digital world maps.
The post nonetheless was proven to be false, as the identification "Palestine" never existed on either of the maps.
Jalal Abukhater, a Palestinian activist with more than 5,000 followers on Twitter, told The Media Line that “Palestine” was never denoted on any of Google’s or Apple’s map platforms.
“The territories have always [shown] the ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip’ labels. I saw many of my friends reposting the news, but I never saw ‘Palestine’ on official maps by Google and Apple,” he said.
However, it opened the doors to boycott movements of both tech giants and a torrent of criticism on social media.
The more virulent reactions took place on Twitter, The Media Lines reported the following tweets. One user said: “Today #Israel came to cancel the annexation of #Palestine?! Today is also the same day #Applemaps and #GoogleMaps removed #Palestine from there worldwide maps?! I stand with you forever and always!! #FreePalestine!!! Please speak up!! And share!! #istandforjustice.”
Another said: “As you can see, @Google removed ‘Palestine’ from its maps” and “Removing #Palestine from the map doesn’t mean it ceases to exist. #PalestineIsHere.”
Likewise, the Palestinian Authority's communications minister has reportedly announced that the government is searching for an alternative to Google.
The initiative #GoogleMapsPalestine calls to sign an online petition and "send a direct email to Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google, and to Alexandria Walden, Global Policy lead for Human Rights and join us in asking Google to put Palestine and Palestinians on its maps."
In 2016, a bug removed the labels "West Bank" and "Gaza Strip'" from Google Map, but these labels were quickly brought back.

Dima Abumaria/The Media Line and Tamar Beeri contributed to this report.