Friday, May 3, 2013

Google "Recognizes" Palestine

The big peace process news today is that Google has officially made the decision to "recognize" Palestine, replacing their references to Palestinian Territories with the UN-approved "Palestine" label.

The world's largest online advertising company addressed the change with 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."

A Google spokesman went on to say that the company uses the UN and several other international organizations when making decisions on country names, indicating that the UN General Assembly's vote to.recognize Palestine as a non-member observer state played no small role in the decision.

I don't see this as a major turning point in the peace process or in international recognition of a Palestinian state, and Google's decision certainly doesn't bring any pressure to bear on Israel to work more seriously towards decolonizing the West Bank. However, Google is a monstrous and highly influential company. Formally recognizing Palestine from a business standpoint is likely to have a positive effect in normalizing the Palestinian people as members of the community of nations. These small efforts to normalize Palestine and Palestinians should not be underestimated. Small victories such as this one will help to build the slow social, cultural, and perhaps political acceptance of the need for a Palestinian state and improve how Americans view the Palestinian people.

With so little positive news coming out of the conflict, it's nice to have a small story such as this one to start the weekend.

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