JERUSALEM – While Jerusalem serves as Israel’s capital, and the Temple Mount is located within Israeli sovereignty, the popular satellite map program Google Earth divides the city and places the Mount – Judaism’s holiest site – within Palestinian territory.
Interactive Google Earth maps mark eastern sections of Jerusalem and the Temple Mount as “occupied territory,” set to become part of a future Palestinian state.
Google Earth states it demarcates its maps according to international standards, but no Israeli-Palestinian negotiations – even the failed Camp David final-status negotiations in 2000 – ever placed the Temple Mount within Palestinian territory.
Google Earth map shows Temple Mount on Arab side of Jerusalem
The United Nations considers eastern sections of Jerusalem, recaptured by Israel during the 1967 Six Day War, to be “disputed.” The Israeli Knesset officially annexed the entire city of Jerusalem as its capital in 1980.
“Google Earth is reinforcing lies,” Rabbi Chaim Richman, director of the international department at Israel’s Temple Institute, told WND.
“The Muslims have engaged in a systemic campaign to re-write history and erase any traces of Judaism from the Temple Mount in total disregard to all actual archeological and historic evidence,” he continued.” Now Google Earth has given in to this campaign.”
Jerusalem first was divided into eastern and western sections when Jordan invaded and occupied the city and the Temple Mount area in 1947, expelling all Jewish inhabitants. Israel originally built its capital in the western part of the city, while the eastern quarters remained under Jordanian control until Israel regained them in 1967.
‘Racist Israel stealing Palestinian water’
Google Earth does not limit its input in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to Jerusalem alone.
The Gaza Strip is labeled by Google Earth as “Israeli occupied,” even though the Jewish state withdrew from Gaza in August 2005.
TotallyJewish.com, a UK-based Jewish website, pointed out an interactive Google Earth map of an Israeli community in the northern West Bank features integrated user comments implying Jews are stealing water from neighboring Palestinians.
A posting on a Google map next to the town of Kiryat Arba, near the ancient city of Hebron, states: “Note the well-tended lawns in a region deprived of water.”
Clicking on a weblink in the posting brings the user to a site stating, “The principal reason for the water shortage is an unfair distribution of water resources shared by Israel and the Palestinians.”
The posting decries Israel’s purported water-confiscation practices as “illegal” and “racist,” even though dozens of major Israeli aquifers, many run by the Jewish National Fund, purify water running through Palestinian cities and return the cleaned water to the Palestinian towns.
Comments on other Google Earth images claim Israel plans to divide parts of Bethlehem, even though no such plan exist.
Google Earth is also accused of showing falsified images. Visitors to Google Earth who click on an area just outside Jerusalem can view a computer-generated image claiming to depict an Israeli missile factory.
Israeli defense officials told WND the “missile factory” is a fabrication.
Google Earth could not immediately be reached for comment since its corporate offices were closed today in observance of Martin Luther King Day.
A Google spokeswoman previously told TotallyJewish.com comments and pictures on satellite maps can be switched off if visitors don’t want to see them. She said the company would investigate the offending postings.
Referring to Google erroneously labeling the Gaza Strip as occupied, the spokeswoman said, “Borders and place names are not always updated straightaway. Occasionally there are discrepancies. We are happy to receive feedback and will pass it on to the Google Earth team and take the necessary steps.”
Terror leader: ‘Congratulations to Google Earth’
Mort Klein, president of the Zionist Organization of America, accused Google Earth of encouraging terrorism.
“When the Arab terrorists see Google Earth’s falsification of geographic realities, they will be appeased and encouraged because these kinds of lying maps send the message that their disinformation campaigns and their terrorism work,” Klein told WND.
Indeed, Abu Nasser, second-in-command of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terror group, said he was “thrilled” by Google Earth’s depictions.
“Congratulations to Google Earth,” Abu Nasser told WND.
“We congratulate Google and the American people in making this very important change in the Middle East. The Al Aqsa Mosque (located on the Temple Mount) is part of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem is part of Palestine. If such a big institution like Google corrected these historical mistakes on maps, maybe we can bring about a change in the depictions of Palestine by the American media, which is controlled by the Zionists.”
According to Abu Nasser, whose terror group says it is trying to liberate the Al Aqsa Mosque, the Jewish Temple “never existed.”
“At least not on the area Jews now call the Temple Mount.,” he said. “Maybe a Temple existed somewhere, but not in Jerusalem. The Temple Mount exists only in the imaginations of the Jews and Americans.”
Abu Nasser’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades is the declared “military wing” of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party. The Brigades, together with the Islamic Jihad terror group, has taken responsibility for every suicide bombing in Israel the past two years, including an attack in Tel Aviv in April that killed American teenager Daniel Wultz and nine Israelis.
The revelation’s about Google Earth’s Mideast map follow media reports this week insurgents in Iraq are using Google’s satellite imagery to attack British bases and troops.
Intelligence sources quoted by Britain’s Daily Telegraph said raids of insurgents last week found printouts of Google satellite photographs of British bases, including details such as toiled blocks, Land Rover parking, and tented areas.
One of the photographs, taken of a hotel housing a British regiment, had the camp’s longitude and latitude written on the back, the newspaper said.
“This is evidence, as far as we are concerned, for planning terrorist attacks,” an intelligence officer told The Daily Telegraph. “Who would otherwise have Google Earth imagery of one of our bases?”
A Google spokesman told the newspaper its information could be used for “good and bad.” “Of course we are always ready to listen to governments’ requests,” he said.
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