—Posted by Peter Z. Scheer. Follow him on Twitter: @peesch.
The Internet giant isn’t waiting for Palestinians and Israelis to settle their differences. On the first of the month, without firing off a press release, Google changed its home page in Gaza and the West Bank from “Google: Palestinian Territories” to “Google: Palestine.”
It turns out a lot of people noticed. According to one Palestinian interviewed by NPR: “Everybody knows about it and they screen shot [and] post on Facebook: ‘Yay Google, thank you.’ ”
Israel took the name change seriously enough to send a letter of complaint to CEO Larry Page. “Google can do anything they want. They’re not a diplomatic entity so they can do Google La-la Land if they want to and that’s fine,” says a spokesman for the Israeli Foreign Ministry. But, he adds, “if people on the Palestinian side believe that they can get anything they want through unilateral steps by international bodies, well in that case they will be more reluctant to talk to Israel.”
According to NPR, Google is not keen to talk about the decision, but the company suggested the Palestinians’ recently enhanced status in the United Nations was a contributing factor.