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Israel steamed after Google starts using the word ‘Palestine’ across its products

Israel on Friday questioned Internet giant Google’s decision to replace the term “Palestinian Territories” with “Palestine” on the Palestinian www.google.ps page, after last year’s UN decision to award Palestine observer status.

“This change raises questions about the reasons behind this surprising involvement of what is basically a private Internet company in international politics — and on the controversial side,” foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told AFP.

The change went into effect om May 1, Google spokesman Nathan Tyler said in a statement.

“We’re changing the name ‘Palestinian Territories’ to ‘Palestine’ across our products. We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries. In this case, we are following the lead of the UN … and other international organisations,” he said.

The UN General Assembly in November upgraded Palestine to the status of non-member observer state by a vote of 138 votes in favour, 9 against and 41 abstentions.

Palestinian authorities have since begun to use the “State of Palestine” in diplomatic correspondence and issued official stamps for the purpose.

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