Fact Check: About the Claim that Google 'Removed' Palestine from Google Maps

Google Maps
Google Maps


Google removed Palestine from Google Maps.


Rating: False
Rating: False

In June 2024, a claim circulated online that Google had "removed" Palestine from Google Maps:

This X post (archived) had gained 252,300 views as of this writing. "Google, #PutPalestineBack on the map!!! Please share #GoogleMaps," someone replied. The claim also appeared on a public Google Help forum and spread on TikTok (archived), with several different videos accumulating millions of views:

This claim, which is false, is not new. In 2016, Google was accused of removing Palestine after a glitch made the Gaza strip and the West Bank disappear. The Guardian covered the story and gave more context:

A Google spokeswoman said: "There has never been a 'Palestine' label on Google Maps, however we discovered a bug that removed the labels for 'West Bank' and 'Gaza Strip'. We're working quickly to bring these labels back to the area."

Yet a search on Google Maps with the word "Palestine" creates an animation on the map that goes straight to Israel.

Status of Palestine

In reality, Google Maps does not include "Palestine" because while most of the countries of South America, Africa and Asia recognize it as a state, most of the West countries, Japan, South Korea, Myanmar, Panamá, Australia and others Ido not. The latter group in their majority favor a two-state solution, which would lead to an eventual recognition of Palestine, but their condition is that a Palestinian state should be the result of direct negotiations between Israel and a national Palestinian Authority.

In consequence, Google treats the Palestinian territories — Gaza and the West Bank — the same way it does other disputed territories: with labels and dashed gray borders:

(Google Maps)

Those disputed territories include the Golan Heights at the north of Israel and to the west of Syria (see map above). Israel seized this area in 1967 during the Six-Day War and annexed it in 1981. While the U.S. and Israel recognize it as Israeli territory, the rest of the world considers it Syrian territory under military occupation.

Other Disputed Territories

Another disputed territory that appears as such in Google Maps is the Crimean Peninsula, south of Ukraine, which Russia took from Ukraine in 2014 and has occupied since then:

(Google Maps)

In 2020, Google was accused of changing the borders of Jammu and Kashmir, a territory in dispute between Pakistan and India. From Pakistan, the territory appeared as disputed. From India, it appeared as Indian. According to The Washington Post (archived):

Both sides claim the Himalayan outpost as their own, but Web surfers in India could be forgiven for thinking the dispute is all but settled: The borders on Google's online maps there display Kashmir as fully under Indian control. Elsewhere, users see the region's snaking outlines as a dotted line, acknowledging the dispute.

These various examples show that maps are inherently political. Far from being merely descriptive, they can shape our understanding of the world.

In 2021, we debunked a rumor that claimed Google Maps was holding a vote on whether to identify Israel or Palestine.


Bensinger, Greg. 'Google Redraws the Borders on Maps Depending on Who's Looking'. Washington Post, 14 Feb. 2020. www.washingtonpost.com, https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/02/14/google-maps-political-borders/.

Countries That Recognize Palestine 2024. https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/countries-that-recognize-palestine. Accessed 25 June 2024.

Cresci, Elena. 'Google Maps Accused of Deleting Palestine – but the Truth Is More Complicated'. The Guardian, 10 Aug. 2016. The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/aug/10/google-maps-accused-remove-palestine.

Heritage, Timothy, and Darya Korsunskaya. 'Russia Rules out Handing Back Crimea, Expands War Games'. Reuters, 17 Mar. 2015. www.reuters.com, https://www.reuters.com/article/world/russia-rules-out-handing-back-crimea-expands-war-games-idUSKBN0MD0Z9/.

Understand Country Borders and Names - Google Maps Help. https://support.google.com/maps/answer/3145721?hl=en#:~:text=Disputed%20boundaries%20are%20displayed%20as,t%20agree%20on%20a%20boundary. Accessed 25 June 2024.

Mikkelson, David. 'Is Google Maps Voting on Whether to Identify Israel or Palestine?' Snopes, 3 Aug. 2014, https://www.snopes.com//fact-check/get-out-the-vote-2/.