Google was at the center of a storm recently, after a group of Palestinian journalists claimed that the tech giant had removed ‘Palestine’ from its map. As the statement was picked up and circulated, the hashtag #PalestineIsHere went viral on Twitter, and international media outlets covered the story.
Following the social media frenzy and press coverage, Google stated that ‘Palestine’ had not been removed because it had never been there in the first place. Instead, Google claimed, a “bug” had removed the labels for ‘West Bank’ and ‘Gaza Strip,’ which would be restored shortly. Read more
Bethlehem has been “isolated and fragmented” in a way that would devastate any town or community the world over.
At the main checkpoint to enter Bethlehem there is a large sign placed on the Separation Wall by Israel’s ministry of tourism which says “Peace be with you”. An appropriate symbol for Israel’s colonial strangling of the “little town”, this propaganda for pilgrims is a crude microcosm of Israel’s habit of talking “co-existence” while pursuing apartheid.
Over decades of Israeli military rule, more and more land around the city has been annexed, expropriated and colonised, with 19 illegal settlements now in the governorate. Eighty percent of an estimated 22 square kilometre of land confiscated from the north of the Bethlehem region was annexed to the Jerusalem municipality in order to expand settlements (see this briefing). Read more
Forced by Israeli construction in East Jerusalem, the US president delivers a “rare rebuke” of an ally. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu begins “construction of a new housing project in East Jerusalem” despite the risk of drawing “fierce, and possibly violent, Palestinian protest, along with international denunciations,” as reported by The New York Times. While this may sound like a news summary from the last month, these are in fact news reports from 1997, as Israel began work on Har Homa colony.
A number of commentators have pointed out a sense of déjà-vu about Netanyahu’s current premiership. But while today’s gaze is fixed on colonies like Ramat Shlomo — home to the 1,600 new housing units announced during US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit — or right-wing settler expansion in Sheikh Jarrah, little has been said about what has since happened to Har Homa, the colony which caused a stir during Netanyahu’s previous time in office. Read more