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Palestine - Google goes ga ga

By David Singer - posted Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Google has spoken - Palestine is now indeed recognized as a country by the internet giant following the change of tag line on the homepage of its Palestinian edition from "Palestinian Territories" to "Palestine".

In a statement given to the BBC - Google spokesman Nathan Tyler said:

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 Organisation for Standardisation] and other international organisations.


Dr Sabri Saidam, advisor to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, told the BBC:

This is a step in the right direction, a timely step and one that encourages others to join in and give the right definition and name for Palestine instead of Palestinian territories

Most of the traffic that happens now happens in the virtual world and this means putting Palestine on the virtual map as well as on the geographic maps..."

Tom McCarthy - a journalist for The Guardian US - has reported Google's announcement under the following headline:

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

Certainly Mahmoud Abbas assumed the title "President of Palestine" and disbanded the Palestinian Authority on 3 January.

Yet no map has been produced by President Abbas indicating where the country he presumably heads is located. Nor has he called for the disbandment of the refugee camps run by UNRWA and extended a call to all Palestinian Arabs around the world to come and join him in the task of building and developing this newest country in the world.


As the unelected President of Palestine, the former unelected President of the officially disbanded Palestinian Authority, the elected Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the head of its major faction - Fatah - Abbas has led the fight for recognition of statehood and it seems that his victories at UNESCO and the United Nations have borne fruit as even organisations such as Google queue up to recognize that there is indeed a newly created country called "Palestine".

So where is the country called Palestine? What are its boundaries and who is its ruler?

Words have meaning and consequences. Playing semantics where lives and other countries national interests are involved is a dangerous game.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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