Google Maps Doesn't Identify Palestine, but Why Did the Company Make That Decision?

Google Maps has never put a label on Palestine because of disputes over the border.


Jun. 12 2024, Published 11:37 a.m. ET

Google Maps on a smartphone.
Source: Getty Images

Companies like Google are forced to make a number of difficult political decisions, largely because of the products they create. Google Maps, for example, has to determine which borders to acknowledge and which ones not to, and that can sometimes lead to some controversy.

Article continues below advertisement

Recently, some TikTok users noticed that Google Maps does not identify Palestine, and wondered if this was a political move made in response to the war taking place Gaza. Here's what we know about why Google Maps does not have Palestine.

A man pointing at a map of Israel and Palestine.
Source: Getty Images
Article continues below advertisement

Did Google Maps remove Palestine?

Google Maps did not remove Palestine, but the country was never identified on Google's Maps. While this may seem like a political move, the reality is that Google Maps never identified Palestine, in large part because the borders of the country are in dispute. That dispute is the result of decades of political strife between the Palestinians and the Israelis over each country's right to exist and the exact borders between the two.

Per a 2016 USA Today report, "In an email statement, Google said it doesn't label the borders because there isn't international consensus on where the Palestinian borders are located."

The outlet added: "The company said it displays any disputed borders as a dashed gray line, and it includes labels and dashed lines for the Gaza Strip and West Bank on its maps. A Google statement said the company doesn't label Palestine's borders since there is no general agreement on the bodies that make up its territory."

Article continues below advertisement

How Google handles Palestine.

If you search for Palestine in Maps, you'll find that the app zooms in on the region, but does not label it. Apple Maps handles the region the same way.

Article continues below advertisement

Palestine is recognized as an independent state by over 135 countries, but the United States is not among them. The long stated position of the U.S. has been that a Palestinian state can only emerge from compromise with Israel.

Whether or not Google Maps labels Palestine seems unlikely to have a determinative role in the broader questions around the fate of the Palestinian people. That's a question that will ultimately be decided by Israel, the United States, and the Palestinians themselves, although it's one that seems less and less likely to be resolved as the war continues.

More from Distractify

Latest FYI News and Updates

    Opt-out of personalized ads

    © Copyright 2024 Distractify. Distractify is a registered trademark. All Rights Reserved. People may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.