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Recent Claims of Sinai Peninsula Name Removal from Google Maps Are Inaccurate

Misbar's Editorial Team Misbar's Editorial Team
21st October 2023
Recent Claims of Sinai Peninsula Name Removal from Google Maps Are Inaccurate
There are ongoing discussions about relocating Gaza residents to Sinai (X)

Since Thursday morning, October 19, social media users and pages have been circulating images purporting to show Google Maps suddenly omitting the name of the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.

These claims have coincided with claims circulating about Israeli proposals to either move residents of Gaza to Sinai or annex certain lands of the Egyptian peninsula to the Gaza Strip in conjunction with the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza.

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Did Google Delete the Sinai Peninsula’s Name from the Map?

Misbar's team conducted a thorough review of Google Maps, including reviewing archived versions of the maps. We found that the widespread claim regarding the removal of the name of the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula is inaccurate. Contrary to the claims made, there was no sudden omission of the peninsula's name in relation to the recent Gaza conflict.

However, the circulating images on Google Maps relate to the general map of Egypt, which typically omits the name of the Sinai Peninsula. This map displays the name of Egypt's capital, Cairo, and some cities according to their geographical distribution. In simpler terms, when searching for a country like Egypt on Google Maps, the name of the Sinai Peninsula will not be visible; only the names of certain major cities within the country will be displayed.

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A photo of Egypt map on Google Maps.

On the other hand, if we search for a specific region on the map, the results about the searched region will be shown. For example, when searching for "Sinai Peninsula" only on Google Maps, the entire peninsula with the names of cities, villages, and its administrative layout will appear.

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A photo of the Sinai Peninsula map on Google Maps.

Upon reviewing older images of Google's map of Egypt, which were previously utilized by some websites, the name of the Sinai Peninsula does not appear on these maps.

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An old image of Egypt on Google Maps.

Tunisian Map on Google Maps

The same pattern applies to the majority of countries and is not limited to Egypt. To elaborate, when conducting a general search for a map of Tunisia on Google Maps using the country's name, prominent city names will appear, whereas the names of specific regions, like Jendouba, might not be found.

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Tunisia map on Google.

By conducting a thorough search for the Tunisian governorate of Jendouba on Google Maps, the city's geographical features and cities will be displayed.

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Jendouba on Google Maps.

Israel’s Plan to Relocate Gaza Residents to Sinai

The circulation of these images and claims has emerged in reaction to recent media reports about an Israeli proposal to move Gaza residents to the Sinai Peninsula.

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A screenshot of the TRT’s article.

The concept of relocating Palestinians to Sinai has been suggested by Israelis as a prospective resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over an extended period. Israeli political, security, and military entities have put forward initiatives to consecutive Egyptian leaders with the objective of relocating Palestinians from Gaza and altering the population distribution in the area, as reported by multiple media sources. These initiatives are grounded by the conviction that the ongoing Palestinian presence in Gaza represents a security concern for Israel.

Former Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon recently told Al Jazeera that people in Gaza should evacuate their residences and relocate to the Sinai Desert in Egypt, where temporary tent cities could be established for them, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

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A screenshot of Al Jazeera’s article.

Al-Sisi Rejects Displacing Palestinians in Sinai

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi reiterated his rejection of the idea of relocating Gaza residents to the Sinai Peninsula due to the ongoing Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. He emphasized the need to uphold the Palestinian cause and opposed the use of military means to address it or the forced displacement of Palestinians from their land. 

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A screenshot of the Middle East Monitor’s article.

“I have also emphasized Egypt’s rejection of the liquidation of the Palestinian issue through military instruments, or any attempts to forcibly displace the Palestinians from their land, or for this to happen at the expense of countries in the region,” al-Sisi said at a joint news conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Cairo.

Al-Sisi cautioned against the risks of such forced displacement and its potential implications for the broader region. He also proposed temporarily relocating Palestinians to Israel's Negev Desert as an alternative solution. 

"Moving Palestinians from Gaza to Sinai is simply transferring the idea of resistance and fighting from the Gaza Strip to Sinai," he said.

Egypt remains committed to receiving and delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza through the Rafah land crossing, but operational challenges have arisen due to the ongoing conflict and Israeli strikes on the Palestinian side of the crossing.

He stated that Egypt will “continue to receive humanitarian assistance and is committed to delivering it to the Gaza Strip through the Rafah land crossing when conditions allow this, taking into consideration the fact that Egypt did not close the Rafah crossing since the outbreak of the crisis.”

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