Friday, 3 May 2013

Palestine now recognised by greater power than US or Israel – Google

Internet giant follows UN in recognising statehood, changing home page tagline from 'Palestinian territories' to 'Palestine'

When the UN recognized Palestine as an observer state last November, Israel retaliated by announcing new settlements. Now an organization of arguably greater authority has recognized Palestine: Google.

On Friday, the search engine changed the tagline on its home page in the occupied territories from "Palestinian territories" to, simply, "Palestine".

"We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries," a Google spokesman, Nathan Tyler, told the BBC. "In this case, we are following the lead of the UN, Icann [Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO [International Organisation for Standardisation] and other international organisations."

What to call the area south of Lebanon and Syria, west of Jordan and north of Sinai that isn't Israel is a matter of fierce debate. Before 1948 the entire area, including present-day Israel, was called Palestine. In 1988, leaders of the remaining territory declared a state of Palestine, but the state has had trouble gaining recognition. In November's UN vote, 138 nations voted to recognize a state of Palestine, nine voted against and 41 abstained.

Google's homeland, the United States, is currently the most powerful opponent of recognizing Palestine.

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