Despite widespread outrage over Google removing the Palestine label from Google Maps, the company didn't – only because it never had added the label in the first place.
Reports that the company had "wiped Palestine off the map" spread through the blogosphere and social media after a press release from the Palestinian Journalists Forum condemned the company.
But the issue has been raised repeatedly over the last several years, with a number of petitions previously put forth requesting that Palestine be added to the map.
When asked for clarification if Palestine had ever appeared, a Google spokesperson told StepFeed, "There has never been a 'Palestine' label on Google Maps."
"However we discovered a bug that removed the labels for 'West Bank' and 'Gaza Strip'. We’re working quickly to bring these labels back to the area," the spokesperson said. "As background, our basemap data, which includes information like place names, borders, and road networks, comes from a combination of third-party providers and public sources. While this helps us provide a comprehensive map, it also means that the amount of data we have varies from place to place and you can see this reflected in our maps. If there are data sources that we’re unaware of, we’d be happy to take a look and see if they’re of sufficient quality to bring to the map."
So the stories may be wrong – but that doesn't change the fact that Google's map is presenting an Israeli take on the situation in Palestine.
The company represents the occupied West Bank and Gaza with dotted lines inside of Israel's borders – despite the fact that the United Nations and the vast majority of the international community, including the United States, have repeatedly rejected Israel's attempt to annex parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.
More than 70% of the countries in the world, 136 of the 193 members of the United Nations, have recognized the state of Israel. The United Nations General Assembly admitted Palestine as a nonmember observer state in 2012. However, full membership in the United Nations continues to be blocked by allies of Israel who hold permanent seats on the Security Council – overruling the will of the world.