Google Maps and the Human Rights of Palestinians

Despite its said commitment to human rights, Google Maps is violating international law and agreements about the geography of Palestine (West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza) and is disregarding the restrictions to movement imposed on Palestinians by the Israeli occupation, putting their lives in danger. Instead, Google Maps is adopting the Israeli narrative of space, which is illegal according to international law. This includes recognizing several illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian West Bank as well as annexed East Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Furthermore, several communities marginalized by the occupation and under constant threat of demolition and forced displacement, such as Khan al-Ahmar, can only find their homes on Google Maps when zooming in to a very high degree. This is contributing and assisting the planned erasure of these areas, not only from maps, but from the land by the occupation. Additionally, the Google Maps route planning services are designed for settlers, whose presence is illegal in the West Bank. As a result, Palestinian users often end up in dangerous areas for Palestinians including Israeli military zones, checkpoints and settlements when using Google Maps route-planning service.

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