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Israeli official protests Google’s use of ‘Palestine’

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JERUSALEM (JTA) — A senior Israeli official called on Google to reconsider its decision to change the wording on its services and products from “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine.”

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin also told Google CEO Larry Page in a letter sent Sunday that he was in essence recognizing a Palestinian state that does not exist.

Google spokesman Nathan Tyler told the BBC late last month that  the company was “following the lead” of several bodies, including the United Nations, in adopting the name change from “Palestinian Territories” to “Palestine” across its products.

In November, the United Nations granted “Palestine” the status of “non-member observer state.”

“I would be grateful were you to reconsider the decision since it entrenches the Palestinians in their view that they can further their political aims through one-sided actions rather than through negotiations and mutual agreement,” Elkin wrote. “By doing so, Google is in essence recognizing the existence of a Palestinian state.

“Such a decision is, in my opinion, not only mistaken but could also negatively impinge on the efforts of my government to bring about direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

The name change on Google products occurred on May 1.

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