FW: Daylight Saving Time - Palestine

Paul Eggert eggert at twinsun.com
Mon Apr 8 20:43:39 UTC 2002

> From: Michael Douma [mailto:doumalist at michaeldouma.com]
> Sent: Monday, April 08, 2002 2:49 PM
> Do you know of groups (other than the Palestinians) that have decided to

> use THEIR OWN DST dates, independent of their surrounding country? I am 
> interested in both past and present.

Sure, lots of them.  The Navajo Nation is one example.  They have an
entry "America/Shiprock" in the tz database.  However, we don't have
time to track every place that sets its clocks differently, so we
mostly stick to widespread de facto use, or de jure use.  Admittedly
the line is fuzzy here, but we try to stick to data that we have
reasonably good information for, and this eliminates most of the
smaller nonstandard locations.  For example, the tz database currently
doesn't record the time zone rebellion in Kugluktuk for a couple of
weeks in late 2000, though I suppose we could add the data in the
unlikely event that someone has the time to track down and verify the
exact transitions.

> I am in discussions right now with a gentleman named Carl D. Goldin, 
> about the observance of Daylight Saving Time in the world. He has 
> pointed out that if I list the Palestinians on a web site about DST, 
> that it is only fair to list other non-country entities.

In order to avoid those political debates as much as possible,
the tz database uses the country code list specified by ISO 3166.
Please see:


> On Monday, April 8, 2002, at 01:53 PM, Carl D. Goldin wrote:
> > 1) My objection, and that of the others who wrote you on the subject, 
> > is that there is currently no country by the name of "Palestine".

ISO 3166 added the country code "PS" on 1999-10-01.  The official ISO
3166 English name corresponding to that code is "PALESTINIAN
TERRITORY, OCCUPIED".  However, this name is too long for the
functional purposes of the tz database, so we've shortened it to the
name "Palestine".  This is for the the same reason that we shortened
OF" to "Macedonia".  (This is not an exhaustive list.)

Admittedly the shorter names are less politically correct, but they
are more functional and occur more often in mainstream English, and
the main goal for the tz database is to have names that sort well and
do not confuse English-language users.

> > it is inaccurate (and an offensive political statement) to include it 
> > in your list of "countries", just as it would be to include disputed 
> > territories such as the Kashmir, aspiring nations such as the Basque 
> > Republic, former nations such as Rhodesia, or unclassifiable entities 
> > such as Aryan Nations.

I'm afraid it is impossible to list all the countries in the world
without offending somebody or another, which is why we defer to ISO
3166 for our list.  The other entities that you mention are not on the
list.  Conversely, ISO 3166 contains other entries that are not
currently real countries, in the sense that most English-speakers
would think of "countries"; these include Antarctica (AQ) and Western
Sahara (EH).  Also, East Timor (TP) was on the ISO 3166 list for quite
some time before it became a real country again a couple of years ago.

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