back to article Facebook says occupied territories are Israel

A week ago Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg told us how his website is bringing peace to the Middle East by giving young people in Lebanon a wider view of the world. But now it's caught up in a row with Israeli settlers on the West Bank. Jewish settlers reacted angrily when the auto-complete function on Facebook finished their …


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  1. John Savard

    Present Status

    People living in the Gaza Strip don't have the opportunity to vote in Egyptian elections, and people living in the West Bank don't have the opportunity to vote in Jordanian elections.

    Both areas are administered by Israel, but the people living there are not Israeli citizens.

    Thus, a unique designation for both those areas is appropriate.

  2. michael

    a unique designation for both those areas

    "f*ked up"?

    just like the rest of the middle east?

  3. Chad H.


    they have their own ITU country code, and I think they have their own tld... I guess those that make tech policy are a little more advanced then some when it comes to recognition of these people.

  4. Paul
    Paris Hilton

    a unique designation?

    How about Occupied Territories?

    Paris, because her territories are regularly occupied.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Present Status

    "Thus, a unique designation for both those areas is appropriate."

    How about "Occupied Palestine", or even "Israeli Occupied Palestine", that get both there names in, I'm sure they can both argue over first billing.

  6. Martin Owens

    If the shoe fits

    I don't know why they're getting so uptight, if you occupy a country/"territory" you better live with the consequences. Personally I can't stand Israel's attitude in it's territory dealings.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    If you're killed in Facebook, do you die here?

    Thankfully in this case we're all like Neo and the answer is no.

    Personally, I think that it is beyond great that places like Facebook provide a safe place where real people - not their incompetent (or worse) government representatives - can talk and see how similar we all are in our ambitions and dreams, fears and anxieties. That may sound like pie in the sky idealism to some of you, but I think Zuckerberg is right when he talks loftily about the ability for the massively peer-to-peer Web to break down artificial barriers.

    Here's the thing. On issues like the Middle East, people are going to say things that offend others. And some patently offensive things will probably also be said. But, within the bounds of the law (so barring threats, etc) they need to be allowed, because they are real. Just like American hip hop music, though sometimes offensive, needs to be protected because it is an important window to the unvarnished feelings of many real people.

  8. Mark

    So where IS palestine?

    Most of it, IIRC, is under Jordan currently.

  9. Spleen

    Good idea

    Personally, as a citizen of England, I think Facebook should reflect political reality by allowing me to list my country as "People's Socialist Republic of Scottistan."

  10. Madeye

    Storm The Register!

    Facebook can call the whole damn lot Planet Mars if it likes - it's not a Post Office and has no legal obligation to accuracy - it is one of the most irritating features of the internet that users of software (web sites) consider themselves owners of said software.

    /me storms in the front door of the Register wearing a keffiyeh: "All your website are belong to us"

  11. Ian Ferguson

    A minor dispute compared to...

    Facebook addicts in Southampton are forced to register as being in Portsmouth...

    There will be blood.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @So where IS palestine?

    Mostly under Israel, but they're only likely to get a couple of fragments back, Gaza and the West Bank, you know like Lesotho and Swaziland.

    How about that, we call Gaza 'Lesotho Palestine' and the West Bank 'Swaziland Palestine'. Yeh that'll do it. That way the Palestinians get the designation they choose to call themselves, while at the same time the Israeli's get their different names to keep them apart like.

  13. Tom Silver badge

    How about


  14. Joe Stalin
    Black Helicopters

    @Good idea

    "Personally, as a citizen of England", I din't get this or all this hot air about citizenship tests and now the want kids to swear a oath of loyalty when the leave school and take thier place as citizens.

    Last time I checked the UK was a Monarchy, and that means you are a subject not a citizen. Unless this is a Nu Labor ploy to get us used to the idea and then ditch HRH and declare a republic, then we would be citizens.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how about ...

    FOEPP - Former Ottoman Empire Province of Palestine

  16. leslie

    Uk too

    I live in york, but have to pick leeds for local network, how daft is that.

  17. Azrafael


    When such a circumstance occurs, you can't blame the developer/coder who set the region by default probably cos he/she doesn't understand much of the sensitivity of the issue involved.

    Imagine a scenario whereby you choose a religion and you chose Christianity and by default it assume you're a catholic just cos the guy coded it put it that way by his understanding of a majority he assumes to be (FOR EXAMPLE)

    Too much applications, too little quality control.


  18. Anonymous Coward

    The only good thing on Facebook...

    'we have empty howling souls' now has 17 members.

    I'm just saying....

  19. Donald Best
    Paris Hilton

    Please show me Palesine on the map

    I have several "Palestinian" friends that I constantly rib. Show me on a map.. OH you are from ISRAEL... Last time I check my geography, there is NO Palestine, only arabic people living in Israel.

    Paris.. because she needs a clue as well.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Madeye

    your comment misses the point. Sure, Facebook has no legal obligation to accuracy, but it is a business, and its users demand accuracy, or at least transparency, or they will go elsewhere. Until such time as a company like Microsoft is able to monopolize the Internet by acquiring a leading Web property like say a Yahoo, people still have choices and plenty of them.

  21. Waggers

    no surprise

    This really isn't surprising. If you look at Facebook's UK "networks", you'll see that it thinks the whole of East Anglia is in London; Southampton and Winchester are parts of Portsmouth; etc. etc. - users have apparently been badgering the powers that be to get this changed for years but to no avail.

  22. Echowitch

    @Ian Ferguson (Southampton in Portsmouth)


    Yes as I grew up in Havant I know full well the hatred between Scumhampton and Pompey. ;) (And I've lived in both.)

    So rofl@Southampton. :)

  23. Steve

    @Joe Stalin

    > Last time I checked the UK was a Monarchy, and that means you are a subject not a citizen.

    The UK is a constitutional monarchy. We're both citizens of the UK and subjects of Her Majesty QE II. Read a UK passport if you don't believe it.

  24. Madeye
    Paris Hilton

    @Anonymous Coward

    According to the vast majority of those living there, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ARE Palestine. In the eyes of most of the world, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ARE Palestine. However, the vociferous M-16-toting minority of settlers consider the West Bank and Gaza Strip to be Israel.

    As said settlers are much closer to Facebooks key demographic than a horde of stone throwing intifadans, Facebooks management are more than willing to distort the truth to quieten the dissent. As you can see, "accuracy" has absolutely nothing to do with it.

    I want an avatar with $$$ signs on it - Paris will have to do in the interim

  25. Knowledge

    @ Donald Best

    And who drew the map?

  26. Anonymous Coward


    i think facebook should be given governing powers perhaps they would make a better go of it. On the whole palestine issue they should be given EU entry that would solve it once and for all. Then they would be governed by the same european human rights laws that we abide by. Palestine I can imagine people objecting to them to be in the EU theyre in the middle east, well didnt Israel take part in the qualifying part of the euro championships ? Love symbol because we could all do with some :)

  27. Donald Best

    @ Knowledge

    The Brits when they gave the land to the Israelis!

  28. Olof P

    @ "Gave the land to the Israelis"

    If you read up on the partition plan, (which was made by the UN and not the British, btw), you'll see that Israel of today is plenty bigger than the Jewish state suggested in there. And that is not because of someone's generosity, but rather the Jews having a better organised militia in 1948, and then winning a couple of wars after that.

  29. Steve

    @ Madeye

    "According to the vast majority of those living there, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ARE Palestine. In the eyes of most of the world, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ARE Palestine. However, the vociferous M-16-toting minority of settlers consider the West Bank and Gaza Strip to be Israel."

    Large Jewish population - check

    Lots of guns - check

    Defense paid for by US taxpayers - check

    Why don't we just start calling it New New York.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous coward

    'How about that, we call Gaza 'Lesotho Palestine' and the West Bank 'Swaziland Palestine'. '

    Hmmm I like the idea, but it's not quite accurate - you really want something more like the old bantustans where the Afrikaaners coralled the indigenous people without proper housing, resources or employment.

    Since the names Bophuthatswana and QwaQwa are now up for grabs, it's be useful to rebrand the Occupied Territories as such and remind people that apartheid is alive and well in the Middle East.

  31. Dana W

    @ Steve

    "Why don't we just start calling it New New York."

    Because in New York, only criminals are allowed guns.

  32. LaeMi Qian

    My map

    I have a big map of the world on my PC. Everytime a country does something that REALLY offends my sense of humanity, I open it in GIMP and edit my map, mostly by colouring offensive regions in with ocean, though I have been known to move/add borders, or rename countries to more descriptive and appropriate (generally NSFW) titles. If I am feeling merciful, I will just turn the capital cities into a new bay and give the rest of the country a chance to start over. My world is now 3/4 ocean instead of the 2/3 it was this time last year when I started. I won't specify locations of new seas as it is intended as a purely personal thing, but Antarctica is the only continent to escape an edit so far.

    I find it very stress relieving.

  33. Glyn

    @Joe Stalin

    As a technicality, can you believe in a Christian God and be a republican?

    As God put the monarch on the throne through right of conquest and succession, I'ld have though not

  34. Anonymous Coward

    @Donald Best "show me on the map"

    How old is your map?

    Who drew it?

    Do you have any idea how painful it must be to have all your relatives, family etc displaced/killed/occupied (if you are Jewish/Armenian/Chagossian/Tibetan etc you do, in which case you are even more insensitive than I thought).

  35. Martin Campbell

    Clueless About Geography

    Facebook thinks that several places in Suffolk, including Bury St Edmunds, Elmswell, Felixstowe, Haverhill, Ixworth, Mildenhall, Stowmarket, Thurston, Tostock and Woolpit are in Norfolk.

    Norfolk vs. Suffolk local rivalry may not be a match for Israel vs. Palestine but I guess it suggests that Facebook's poor geography is as likely to be due to ignorance as it is to malice.

  36. Rob Foster

    @ Donald Best

    Try looking at this Webpage. You'll find that most "Israelis" are living in Palestine

    Interesting heh?

  37. WarrenG

    Good ol Israel

    Whose to say Colianilism ever came to an end...centuries ago explorers used stories of lands far away with abundant riches, in the 21st century they used the Torah and the myth of the chosen people. How far we have come!

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