Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps have stopped providing live traffic updates for Israel and Gaza in anticipation of a ground offensive by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), according to several media reports. A Google spokesperson told Bloomberg that they have temporarily disabled live traffic conditions and business information in the region to prioritize the safety of local communities. While real-time traffic data has been turned off, users can still use the navigation systems and see estimated arrival times based on live conditions.
The decision to remove real-time crowding data on Google Maps in Israel and Gaza was reportedly made at the request of the IDF. Such information could potentially reveal Israeli troop movements, prompting the military to seek its deactivation. This action is reminiscent of a similar move by Google in 2022, when it disabled live traffic data on Google Maps in Ukraine following Russia’s military operation. At that time, Google stated that the decision was made in consultation with Ukrainian authorities.
Apple also appears to have adhered to the IDF’s request, as users are no longer able to view live traffic reports on Apple Maps, according to Israeli tech outlet Geek Time. However, neither the IDF nor Apple have officially confirmed or denied these reports.
Meanwhile, US officials have expressed concerns about Israel’s anticipated ground operation. Some officials have suggested that the IDF lacks a viable plan for entering Gaza and eliminating Hamas. There are fears that the operation could result in an inability to effectively deal with the militant group.
The conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated when Hamas launched an incursion into Israel on October 7, resulting in the death of approximately 1,400 Israelis and the captivity of 200 others. In response, Israel declared war on Hamas and imposed a siege on Gaza while conducting artillery and air strikes. According to local authorities, over 5,000 people have been killed as a result of the Israeli offensive.
In conclusion, Google and Apple have temporarily disabled live traffic updates for Israel and Gaza ahead of an expected ground invasion by the IDF. The decision was made to ensure the safety of local communities and to prevent the potential revelation of Israeli troop movements. US officials have expressed concerns about the IDF’s plan for the ground operation, fearing an inability to eliminate Hamas. The conflict between Israel and Hamas has resulted in significant casualties, with both sides engaged in a violent and ongoing confrontation.