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Google takes down app helping people boycott companies linked to Israel

It comes as Israel restarted combat operations in the Gaza Strip minutes after a temporary truce.

UKRAINE - 2023/03/19: In this photo illustration, a Google Play Store logo is seen on a smartphone and in the background. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Google has removed a mobile app from its Play Store which helps people boycott Israel linked companies. (Getty)

Google has removed a mobile app from its Play store which helps people boycott companies linked to Israel.

The @NoThanksBoycott social media account confirmed its NoThanks app had been temporarily taken down as a result of text in its description which said you could see if "your hand supports killing children in Palestine or not”.

The account wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Thursday: "The app has been suspended from play store for this sentence, I removed it in the new update and play store will review it and release it again,"

It included a screenshot of the description which stated: "Welcome to NoThanks, here you can see if the product in your hand supports killing children in Palestine or not.

"All you have to do is scan the barcode or write the serial number in the search bar."

It comes as Israel restarted combat operations in the Gaza Strip minutes after a temporary truce expired on Friday, blaming Hamas for breaking the ceasefire.

Within hours of the truce ending, Hamas-run Gaza reported 109 people had been killed and dozens wounded in air strikes.

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On November 7, the creator of the @NoThanksBoycott app announced that it would help people determine if a company supports Israel.

They wrote: "I'm a Palestinian developer and I made an app that would help everyone in the boycott movement, all you have to do is to scan the product barcode and it will tell you, the app will be released soon in android and iOS."

Later, the app shared a video of someone using it to scan a barcode in a store and avoid products that support "massacres."

By 29 November, the app had been downloaded over 100,000 times on the Google Play app store.

The @NoThanksBoycott account announced the app would still be available as an "apk version" on its Telegram channel as it awaited a decision from Google.

Yahoo News UK has approached Google for comment.

Palestinian medics search for survivors in the rubble of a building following Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 1, 2023, as fighting resumed shortly after the expiration of a seven-day truce between Israel and Hamas militants. A temporary truce between Israel and Hamas expired on December 1, with the Israeli army saying combat operations had resumed, accusing Hamas of violating the operational pause. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP) (Photo by SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images)
Palestinian medics search for survivors in the rubble of a building following Israeli bombardment in Rafah. (Getty)

Weeks of Israeli bombardment and a ground campaign have left more than three-quarters of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million uprooted, leading to a humanitarian crisis.

More than 13,300 Palestinians have been killed - roughly two-thirds of them women and children - according to the health ministry in Hamas-ruled Gaza. Hamas is a UK-proscribed terrorist organisation.

Israel has previously said allegations of genocide were "deplorable" and that its actions target Hamas militants, not civilians.

Some 1,200 Israelis have been killed, mostly during Hamas’s deadly 7 October attack that triggered the latest war.

RAFAH, GAZA - DECEMBER 01: Smoke rises after Israeli attacks hit Rafah, Gaza on December 01, 2023. Israeli army intensively resumes its attacks across Gaza Strip early on Friday after humanitarian pause ends. (Photo by Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu via Getty Images)
Smoke rises after Israeli attacks hit Rafah. (Getty)

What is BDS movement?

The BDS movement, which stands for boycott, divestment, and sanctions, is a global campaign that aims to put pressure on Israel to end its occupation of Palestinian territories, give equal rights to Palestinian citizens of Israel, and allow Palestinian refugees to return to their homes.

The movement calls for individuals, organisations, and governments to boycott Israeli businesses, divest from companies that profit from the occupation, and impose sanctions on Israel until it complies with international law.

Some see the BDS movement as a way for people to peacefully resist oppression, while others argue that it is rooted in anti-Semitic beliefs and aims to delegitimise the state of Israel

Proponents argue that the movement is a legitimate form of protest against Israeli policies although there is debate over whether the movement is an effective means of achieving its goals.