The decision by Google to change the name “Palestinian territories” to “Palestine” across its products might harm the prospects for restarted Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, according to Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin.
“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,” Elkin wrote in a letter to Google CEO Larry Page.
“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 added.
On Friday, Google spokesman Nathan Tyler explained that the search engine giant consulted with agencies including United Nations, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and the International Organization for Standardization in making the “Palestine” decision. Last November, the Palestinians’ unilateral statehood bid resulted in upgraded nonmember observer status for what they call “Palestine” at the UN.