GeoCarta Has Moved

Feb 13, 2008

Israeli Town Calls Cops About Google Earth

The Israeli town of Kiryat Yam has filed a slander complaint with Israel's police against Google Earth after it allowed allegations that the town was built on the ruins of an Arab village to be posted in the notes section of the popular web mapping application the International Herald Tribune reported.

Town official Naty Keyzilberman filed the complaint after the internet giant allowed a note to be placed in it's popular mapping application Google Earth stating that the town of 40,000 lies at the location of the Arab town of Ghawarina. Thameen Darby, a Palestinian doctor, inserted the note on the map saying the Jewish town was built on the location of Ghawarina, an Arab town that no longer exists.

Mr. Darby says that his contributions to Google Earth are part of the "Nakhba -- Palestinian Catastrophe" information hub which tries to help displaced Palestinians understand their heritage. Mr. Darby has inserted at least 10 such notes over Google's map of Israel.

Mr. Keyzilberman, the town official, says that such a claim cannot be true because the town was founded in 1945, well before Arabs fled the area during the 1948-49 war. Mr. Darby's claim that the town was built on the ruins of an Arab village are refuted by Professor Yossi Ben-Artzi of Haifa University, who told Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot. "Kiryat Yam was built on sand dunes, and there wasn't any Palestinian village in the area. The lands were bough in 1939 by the Gav Yam construction company."

Mr. Darby told The Associated Press that he will remove the note from Google Earth if he is proven wrong "by reliable sources". A spokesman for Google said that it is Google's policy is not to remove such postings.