Israel accuses Google of 'pushing peace further away' following Palestine move

Google has become embroiled in a political row after the Israeli deputy foreign minister branded its decision to designate a Palestinian homepage 'very, very problematic'.

Row: Israeli deputy foreign minister Ze'ev Elkin

Ze'ev Elkin told Israel's Army Radio that the decision compromised stability in the disputed territories: "When a company like Google comes along and supports this line, it actually pushes peace further away, pushes away negotiations, and created among the Palestinian leadership an illusion that in this manner they can achieve the result. Without direct negotiation with us, nothing will happen."

The decision from Google to change the region's homepage from 'Palestinian Territories' to "Palestine" at the beginning of May was welcomed by Palestinian officials. Palestine's status with the UN was upgraded late last year to a "non-member state" and Google said it was following the UN's lead.

Google spokesman Nathan Tyler told the BBC: "We consult a number of sources and authorities when naming countries. In this case, we are following the lead of the UN, Icann [the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers], ISO [International Organisation for Standardisation] and other international organisations."

It's understood Palestinian officials have invited Google to gather information from the area in order to include Palestine on its Google Maps service.

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