Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Internet search giant Google has taken a controversial step by changing the tagline on the homepage of its Palestinian edition from “Palestinian territories” to “Palestine”.
"We`re changing the name `Palestinian territories` to `Palestine` across our products”, said Google spokesman Nathan Tyler.
The new homepage now displays ‘Palestine’ in both Arabic and English under the Google logo.
The move comes after a UN decision last year upgrading the Palestinians` status to "non-member observer state."
Tyler said that Google consults with a number of sources and authorities while naming countries and has been following the lead of several international organizations.
Israel, meanwhile, has said that Palestinian statehood should be reached through negotiations, not unilateral moves.
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said, "Google is not a diplomatic entity which begs the question why are they getting involved in international politics and on the controversial side." Google has a large research and development centre in Israel.
UN spokesman Farhan Haq said that the organisation tended to refer to Palestinian areas on its maps as "the occupied Palestinian territories," but after the upgraded status, documents now refer to it as ‘Palestine’.
(With Agency inputs)