Internet giant Google has come under fire from around the world this week, after removing the name Palestine from Google Maps and replacing it with Israel. Interestingly, international mainstream corporate media has completely blacked out any coverage of the incident or the international outrage it has sparked.
The Palestinian Journalists Forum (PJF), in a statement released on Friday in the Middle East Monitor, condemned Google’s decision to remove Palestine from its maps, saying it “is part of the Israeli scheme to establish its name as a legitimate state for generations to come and abolish Palestine once and for all.”
The group says the removal of Palestine’s name from the Google Maps was a blatant attempt to undermine Palestinian statehood forever and claims the move is just another attempt to distort history and geography.
“The move is also designed to falsify history, geography as well as the Palestinian people’s right to their homeland, and a failed attempt to tamper with the memory of Palestinians and Arabs as well as the world,” the statement added.
In addition, the group demanded that Google reverse the name changes made on July 25, noting that the move was“contrary to all international norms and conventions.”
Most of the areas claimed by the State of Palestine have been occupied by Israel since 1967 in the aftermath of the Six-Day War. Its independence was declared on November 15, 1988, by the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Algiers as a government-in-exile.
Currently, there is no Palestine listed in Google Maps, even when the keyword Palestine is typed, Google Maps directs you to Gaza, Judea and Samaria marked with a broken borderline but nothing is mentioning Palestine by name.
As of September 2015, 136 (70.5%) of the 193 member states of the United Nations and two non-member states have recognized the State of Palestine. Many of the countries that do not recognize a State of Palestine nevertheless recognize the PLO as the “representative of the Palestinian people.”
It must also be noted that historically the United States has used its superpower status and leverage, through the Foreign Assistance Act and other measures, to discourage other states and international organizations from extending recognition of Palestinian statehood at the behest of the Israeli government.
Make no mistake that this latest move by Google is an intentional act meant to undermine the idea of Palestinian statehood, and reveals Israel as having an inordinate amount of leverage over U.S. corporate and governmental decision-making.
One of the biggest factors underpinning this reality is the “Israel Lobby,” arguably the most powerful special interest group in the U.S. The lobby has been able to skew American foreign policy away from U.S. national interest while simultaneously convincing the American public that their goals are aligned with that of America.