Hilarious Things Palestinian Activists Are Demanding from Google

A post by reader Max

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I saw that the “JVP” posted this:

It links to this:



Google Maps’ Endangering Palestinian Human Rights

7amleh – The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media released a new report entitled, “Mapping Segregation – Google Maps and the Human Rights of Palestinians”. The report reveals new insights about how  Google Maps’ mapping process in the occupied Palestinian territories serves the interests of the Israeli government and contradicts Google’s commitment to international human rights frameworks.

In particular it focuses on Google Maps’ representation of geography and political boundaries in Israel and the occupied territories, including Google’s use of terms and route planning. Google Maps does not include the search term “Palestine” and rarely includes the names of Palestinian areas unrecognized by Israel, while at the same time includes the names and locates of illegal Israeli settlements seamlessly. The maps also neglect to express the hundreds of roadblocks, permanent and flying checkpoints and that Israel has erected throughout the West Bank violating Palestinians’ right to freedom movement. As a result, Google Maps routes are only for Israelis and illegal Israeli settlers and can be dangerous for Palestinians.

The report concludes that Google Maps’ refusal to display internationally recognized borders, Palestinian villages and cities, checkpoints and restricted areas endangers the lives of Palestinians and adopts the Israeli narrative of space which is contrary to international law.

7amleh calls on Google Maps to implement a set of recommendations:

As the world’s largest global cartographic service, Google Maps has the ability to influence global public opinion. It has a responsibility to comply with international human rights standards and to provide a service that reflects the reality instead of adopting solely the Israeli narrative. This report recommends that:

  • Palestine be named on Google Maps in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution of November 2012, and that, based on Resolution 181 of the UN General Assembly, the international status of Jerusalem is displayed accordingly.
  • Google Maps includes all the “unrecognized” Palestinian villages in the first layer of their maps and provides the same degree of detail when representing Palestinian villages in Area C.
  • In accordance with Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Article 55 of the Hague Regulations, Google Maps must refer to and distinguish illegal Israeli settlements within the West Bank.
  • It is essential to clearly refer to areas A, B and C in the West Bank on Google Maps and to map all movement restrictions and restricted streets.

Just to comment on the absurdity of those demands:

1. Palestine be named on Google Maps in accordance with the UN General Assembly Resolution of November 2012, and that, based on Resolution 181 of the UN General Assembly, the international status of Jerusalem is displayed accordingly

Is there some “Resolution of November 2012″  (notice they don’t mention which one) that actually mentions anything about how Google can refer to some area? I don’t remember the UN ever having some assemblies to discuss how Google or Apple or some other company “must” use a specific name for some area.

And that other resolution they are mentioning (Resolution 181) is the Partition Plan from 1947 the Arabs rejected. Israel was willing to accept it, but the Arabs rejected it. It seems really absurd that they would complain about why can’t they be offered the same deal again, the deal they rejected.

By the way, Google Maps does mark where the 1967 lines were, but this does not seem to be enough for these haters, who want it marked according to the deal the Arabs were offered in 1947…and rejected.

2. Google Maps includes all the “unrecognized” Palestinian villages in the first layer of their maps and provides the same degree of detail when representing Palestinian villages in Area C.

So do they mean makeshift “villages” like Khan Al-Ahmar? Makeshift villages that look more like some temporary camp that was just placed at some random location without even having some proper infrastructure? If someone placed a tent in a park and called it a village, would that qualify it to be marked “in the first layer” of Google Maps? What do they even mean by “the first layer”? They complain about having to zoom in – do they mean like how capital cities and very large cities like Istanbul are marked, so someone won’t even have to zoom in to read it? Would they say that some company was “discriminating” against someone for not marking his tent on a map in the same way large cities with millions of people in them are marked?

3. In accordance with Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Article 55 of the Hague Regulations, Google Maps must refer to and distinguish illegal Israeli settlements within the West Bank.

Those conventions don’t say anything about how companies like Google or Apple should refer to some area. Are they trying to redefine the term “Occupying State” to supposedly make some company sound like it’s some “virtual occupier” if it doesn’t refer to some area the way some of its inhabitants want it to be called?

It should also be mentioned that those conventions apply to territories of actual sovereign states that exist, states with actual borders that are recognized and that have signed those conventions, not just any territory that some who live there would maybe like to claim for their “future state”.

4. It is essential to clearly refer to areas A, B and C in the West Bank on Google Maps and to map all movement restrictions and restricted streets.

Why do they see marking “all movement restrictions and restricted streets” as something “essential”? Does Google mark in any other countries if the police close some street because of investigations or to prevent some riots from escalating? Does Google mark all places where police have checkpoints in any other countries? What would be the point of that?

Random checkpoints are not something uncommon even in many western countries. For example, if there is a concert and they expect that many people will be drinking, the police can decide to stop cars at some random place nearby and ask for a breath test. They don’t announce it like “If you are drunk and you drive, here is where we are testing you.” Why would they make it easy for someone to plan an alternative route to avoid being tested? Would that make any sense?

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