Type Palestine on Google Maps and you will not see it. Instead, you will be directed to the Zionist entity. The move has been followed by a similar one Apple maps.
The silent move by the two tech giants has left netizens outraged, with the Hashtag #FreePalestine took off on Twitter on Thursday.
A major share of the 254,000 tweets on the topic expressed outrage over Google’s and Apple’s decision.
In many cases, they would be accompanied by screenshots from the navigation apps and, at times, an image of a regional map of 1947, also featuring the state of Transjordan, currently known as Jordan.
The controversy playing itself out on social media Thursday echoed a similar episode in 2016, when Palestinian journalists similarly accused the US-based Internet giant of removing Palestine from its maps.
In 2016, Google clarified that the “label Palestine had never been present on its mapping service,” which instead includes labels for the West Bank and Gaza, as well as their respective outlines on the map.
“There has never been a ‘Palestine’ label on Google Maps, however, we discovered a bug that removed the labels for ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip.’ We’re working quickly to bring these labels back to the area,” Google said in 2016.