Daily Israel Report

Google Defines Samaria as 'Palestinian Territory'

A resident of the Samarian community of Eli finds that the Google search engine believes Jews in Judea and Samaria live in Palestinian territory.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 12/15/2009, 11:00 AM / Last Update: 12/15/2009, 11:06 AM

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A resident of the Jewish community of Eli in Samaria has discovered that the giant Google search engine is apparently not waiting for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to complete final status negotiations. In Google's Internet world, life for Jews in the region has already taken on a new reality.

Eliezer Tabor picked up a connection on his community’s wireless router as usual this week. But he found that despite the fact that the rest of the sites he surfed recognized his location as within Israel, Google named his location as within “Palestinian territory.”

“When I opened the main page of Google to search for something, I was surprised to find myself located in an Arabic area on this search engine,” he told Arutz Sheva.

Tabor emphasized that he was not even located in a place under Arab control.

Google added a Palestinian Authority domain on August 13, where domains in the PA can be registered with the extension “yourname.ps”.

According to a statement posted on the Google Arabia blog when the site was launched, “The new domain will give Arabic-speaking users in the Palestinian Territories, who use Palestinian ISPs, access to Google in Arabic – and eventually, access to more locally-relevant content. With the launch of google.ps, we bring the total number of Google domains worldwide to more than 160.”

Google later added in a statement to ArabCrunch that it would direct users based on their ISPs – thus, users of Palestinian ISPs would be automatically redirected to google.ps .

“Arabic-speaking users in the Palestinian Territories who use Palestinian ISPs will be given direct access to Google in Arabic via google.ps … we determine the user’s general physical location upon their computer’s Internet Protocol (IP) address.”

The estimated 2.4 million users who are being redirected to Google’s PA domain include those in Gaza as well as those in Judea and Samaria. However, users in eastern Jerusalem are not included among those being redirected to Google’s PA domain.