Google Changes Palestine Search Term

Created: 2013-05-07 05:00 EST

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Google gives Palestine a virtual victory on its long path to statehood.

On May 1, the popular search engine removed the word "territories" from its search page, simply referring to the three Palestinian enclaves as Palestine.

Palestinians have welcomed the move, with Sabri Saidem, the advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas, saying the designation gives Palestine a "geographical presence."

Israeli officials were less enthusiastic, and asked why Google was treading in politically controversial waters.

[Yigal Palmor, Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesperson]:
"Google can do anything they want. They can do Google 'Never Never Land' if they want to and that's cool. However, one cannot but wonder why does a private internet company want to get involved in international politics and international diplomacy, which is more, to do that on the controversial side."

Palestinians have been fighting to be recognized as a state by foreign powers since peace talks with Israel stalled in 2011.

The West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip were seized by Israel during the 1967 war and have been occupied since.

In November, the United Nations approved its status as a non-member state, infuriating Israel.