South African Search Trends

How are South Africans searching for news about Palestine?

Recently, Israeli settlers, emboldened by the Israeli government, forced Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. Many Palestinians have protested against the illegal settlements and ethnic cleansing regularly carried out by Israeli occupation forces, as well as the blockade, bombardment of Gaza, and Jim Crow-style treatment of Arabs residing within Israeli territory. Israel has spent the last week bombing hospitals, schools, roads, coronavirus testing sites, residential buildings, holy sites, press buildings and charity organizations, while claiming self-defense. So far, 12 Israelis and at least 251 Palestinians, including 66 children, have been killed.

As many are aware, South Africa is a former apartheid state, and Nelson Mandela famously said “We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians”. With this historical connection in mind, a Google Trends analysis of South African searches was conducted to determine whether the term “Israel” or “Palestine” was searched more in the last thirty days.

Based on the data provided by Google Trends, it is clear that “Israel” is still the most frequently-searched term. However, South Africans searched for “Palestine” more frequently than the global norm, with searches for “Palestine” even surpassing “Israel” searches a few times. The same can’t be said about most of the world, which largley made searches for “Israel”.

Although South Africans searched “Israel” more, searches for “Palestine” still outpaced those of other countries.

Furthermore, the subregions of South Africa also tell a story. In the data provided below, it is clear that Northern Cape (64%) and Western Cape (45%) have the highest volume of “Palestine” searches.

While this information can’t be used to make any conclusions about public opinion, it does provide us with a unique insight into the words South Africans are accustomed to when discussing the occupation.

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