Israel asks Google to U-turn on ‘Palestine’ recognition

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Google may be hindering diplomatic peace efforts in the Middle East, Israel’s deputy foreign minister said in a letter addressed to the search giant’s CEO on Monday.

On Friday, Google changed the term “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine” across all its products.

By doing this, the search giant is “recognizing the existence of a Palestinian state,” Elkin wrote in a letter to Google CEO Larry Page, reported The Jerusalem Post.

“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.

“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.

The change was introduced at the beginning of May.

“We’re changing the name ‘Palestinian Territories’ to ‘Palestine’ across our products. We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries,” Google spokesman Nathan Tyler said in a statement to the BBC on Monday.

“In this case, we are following the lead of the U.N., Icann [the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO [International Organization for Standardization] and other international organizations,” Tyler added.

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