Fact check: Google Maps does not label Palestine

Posted By on May 25, 2021

Here are some major events leading to the current violence we see happening with what some are calling an all-out war between Hamas and Israel. USA TODAY

In 2016,#PalestineIsHere began trending after supporters of the Palestinian cause condemnedGooglefor supposedly removing the word Palestine from Google Maps, according to the New York Times.

But Googledid not do that, because the label was never there.

Now, that decision is drawing renewed focus amid the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"Care to point out the location of Palestine? The photo was taken from Google maps which is a Leftist company. This should tell you something. #standwithisrael," reads a May 17 Facebook post.

The post drew more than 3,500 likes and 900 shares in the first week.USA TODAY reached out to the user for comment, to which they said "America doesnt recognize (Palestine)as a nation."

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When searching for "Palestine" on Google Maps, the map zooms in on the Israel-Palestine region, andboth the Gaza Strip and West Bank territories are labeled andseparated bydottedlines. But there is no label for Palestine.

In an email statement, Google said it doesn't label the bordersbecause there isn't international consensus on where the Palestinian borders are located.

Other major mapping companies approach this decision in different ways. When doing a general search for "Palestine," here's what happens:

Palestine is recognized as an independent state by the United Nations and more than 135 of its members, but it is not recognizedby theU.S.,according to History. The United Nations considers it a single occupied entity, butthe official borders are undetermined, BBC News reported.

Google said that as part of itsefforts to provide a more comprehensive map, it publishedStreet View imagery of the West Bank in 2017, specificallyRamallah, Bethlehem and Jericho.

An onlinepetitionasking Google to add a label for Palestine has accumulated more than 2.1 million signatures on Change.org.

"The original target was 1 million signatures, which was reached in July 2020," said Zak Martin, who created the petition.

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The claim that Palestine is not labeled on Google Maps is TRUE, based on our research. The company said it displays any disputed borders as a dashed gray line, and it includeslabels and dashed lines forthe Gaza Strip and West Bank on its maps. A Google statement said the companydoesn't label Palestine's borders since there is no general agreementon the bodies that make up itsterritory.

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Our fact check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.


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Fact check: Google Maps does not label Palestine

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