TEL AVIV – Jerusalem will no longer be labeled as the capital of Israel in a Czech school atlas and will instead be replaced by Tel Aviv as a result of pressure from the country’s Palestinian embassy.
The Czech Foreign Ministry, and subsequently the Education Ministry, caved into demands from Khaled Atlattrash, Palestinian ambassador to Prague, who said that children should not be taught that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
The issue came to Atlattrash’s attention when Palestinians living in the Czech Republic informed him of the textbooks and maps showing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
“The data in the atlas will be corrected as of the new school year,” the Prague Daily Monitor quoted Czech Education Ministry spokeswoman Klara Bila as saying.
“The Czech Republic does not consider East Jerusalem a part of the State of Israel,” Czech Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Irena Valentova said, adding that Shocart, which makes the atlas, was not staying true to the country’s political stance.
“The EU member countries, including the Czech Republic, view Jerusalem as the future capital of both states, i.e. the State of Israel and the future State of Palestine,” Valentova said.
Shocart was forced to make the change or risk not being commissioned by the Education Ministry in the future. Managers at the publishing house defended themselves by saying the Jerusalem label was a “mistake” that was “overlooked.”
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Emanuel Nachshon lashed out at the move, calling it “devious.”
“The Foreign Ministry is working with the relevant authorities in the Czech government to cancel this devious order. There is no limit to Palestinian incitement. They are not content with poisoning only the minds of young Palestinians, but also request to sow lies into the minds of the youth of the Czech Republic,” he said.
In 2014, atlas maps printed by Harper Collins for distribution to English-speaking schools in Arab countries omitted Israel entirely.