Israel-Palestine conflict

FACT CHECK: Palestine not ‘removed’ from Google Maps

Rappler.com

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FACT CHECK: Palestine not ‘removed’ from Google Maps
The label for Palestine has never been on Google Maps. The claim, which recently resurfaced on social media, has been debunked by several credible sources over the years.

Claim: Google has removed Palestine from Google Maps and renamed it Israel.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim has recently circulated through a Facebook video posted on June 11, with 15,000 views, 883 reactions, and 52 comments as of writing.

The video’s caption reads: “Google removed Palestine from maps.”

The post was shared amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas.

The bottom line: Google did not remove Palestine from its map, as the label for Palestine did not exist in the first place.

The claim had been circulating online as early as 2016. Several news outlets, such as USA Today, The Guardian, Human Rights Pulse, The New York Times, and AFP Fact Check, have debunked the claim over the years. 

According to a 2021 USA Today article, Google does not label the Palestinian borders as there is no international agreement on where the said borders are located. 

In a 2023 Rappler fact check, Google told Rappler that its depiction of Palestine has not changed and that labels for the West Bank and Gaza Strip remain displayed on its worldwide maps.

A history of conflict: The conflict between Israel and Palestine dates back centuries. After World War I, Britain took control of the area known as Palestine. Tensions between the Jewish minority and Arab majority inhabiting the area grew after the UK was tasked with establishing a home for Jews in Palestine through the Balfour Declaration

In 1947, the United Nations passed Resolution 181 to split Palestine into two states – one Jewish and one Arab, with Jerusalem to be placed under a special international regime. Arab leaders rejected this plan.

In 1948, Zionist leaders declared the creation of the State of Israel, sparking the first Arab-Israeli war. At least 750,000 Palestinians were forced out of their homes in what they call Al Nakba, or “the catastrophe.”

Since then, Israeli and Palestinian groups have engaged in a long-running conflict in the region. 

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Ongoing tensions: On October 7, 2023, fighting in the region reached a new flashpoint when Hamas launched a surprise attack on Israel. The initial attack triggered a months-long conflict that has resulted in numerous deaths and calls for a ceasefire. (TIMELINE: Conflict between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza)

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, over 37,202 Palestinians and 1,200 Israelis have been killed since October 2023. More than 70,000 housing units have also been destroyed in Gaza while 1.7 million people have been displaced.

On June 10, the United Nations Security Council adopted a resolution backing a proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority welcomed the resolution, while the US said Israel has also accepted the US-backed proposal although Israel has not publicly stated that.

Previous fact-checks: Rappler has debunked several claims regarding the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine:

– Katarina Ruflo/Rappler.com

Katarina Ruflo is a Rappler intern. She is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science with a major in International Relations and Foreign Service at the University of San Carlos, Cebu.

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