A senior Israeli official accused Google on Monday of setting back Middle East peace hopes by putting the name “Palestine” under the banner of its search page for the Palestinian territories. (www.google.ps)
Palestinians hailed Google’s move as a virtual victory on the long path to the state they seek in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip, which Israel seized in the 1967 war.
With bilateral negotiations stalled for 2-1/2 years over Jewish settlement building, the Palestinians have campaigned for foreign recognition of statehood, and were upgraded to “non-member state” at the United Nations in November.
Following the U.N. lead, Google’s Palestinian homepage and other products previously labeled “Palestinian Territories” were changed on May 1 to read “Palestine”.
“I think that the Google decision from the last few days is very, very problematic,” said Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin, a confidant of Prime Minister etanyahu.
“When a company like Google comes along and supports this line, it actually pushes peace further away, pushes away negotiations, and creates among the Palestinian leadership the illusion that in this manner they can achieve the result,” he told Israel’s Army Radio.
“Without direct negotiation with us, nothing will happen.”
Read more at REUTERS.