Pro-Palestine activists have launched an online campaign calling on Google and Apple to put Palestine on their maps, accusing the internet giants of trying to erase Palestinian identity and changing facts to suit American and Israeli objectives.
“According to Google, Palestine does not exist,” a change.org petition with over one million signatories says.
“Whether intentionally or otherwise, Google is making itself complicit in the Israeli government’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine.”
Google has been replacing the names of Palestinian towns and villages with Israeli names, leading to fears that the search engine is normalising Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank in line with US President Donald Trump’s controversial ‘peace plan‘.
“The omission of Palestine is a grievous insult to the people of Palestine and undermines the efforts of the millions of people who are involved in the campaign to secure Palestinian independence and freedom from Israeli occupation and oppression,” the petition adds, calling on Google to “clearly designate and identify the Palestinian territories illegally occupied by Israel.”
The petition was initially launched in 2016, but gained significant momentum over the weekend.
Note: This page was updated at 21.10 BST on 27 July 2020 to add that the petition was originally launched 4 years ago. We also corrected the language in the post to specify that the petition is calling for the addition of Palestine to the maps, not “bring it back”, as Palestine as a country did not appear in previous versions of Google Maps.