This Is Why Palestine Doesn’t Appear on Google Maps

August 10, 2016, 3:46 PM UTC
Google Maps Returns To Apple's iPhone
Photograph by Justin Sullivan — Getty Images

This article has been updated to reflect comment from Google.

A Gaza City journalism group sparked outrage on social media Tuesday after they claimed Palestine was deleted from Google Maps.

Maps normally shows a dashed border around the West Bank and Gaza Strip, defining cities in those regions as Palestinian if you click on them but a Palestine label has never appeared on Google Maps, a spokesperson for Google told Fortune. A glitch is reportedly at fault for the West Bank and Gaza Strip not showing up on Maps.

“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,” the spokesperson said. “We’re working quickly to bring these labels back to the area.”

Many Middle-Eastern news outlets covered Google’s controversial move, and the Washington Post reports that tens of thousands have Facebook-shared and tweeted it. Engadget says that much of the Middle Eastern media, along with social media users, are demanding that Google relabel the region—and even all of Israel—as Palestine.

“[Our group] condemns the crime carried out by Google in deleting the name of Palestine, and calls for Google to rescind its decision and apologize to the Palestinian people,” the Forum of Palestinian Journalists said in a statement.


Since Palestine was never featured on Maps, Google never technically removed it, according to Engadget. But that didn’t stop the controversies. Twitter users created a #PalestineIsHere hashtag, and over 250,000 people have signed a petition for Google to put Palestine on Google Maps.

Fortune has reached out to Google and will update the story if it responds.

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