The Czech Education Ministry has ordered the company printing the atlases used in the country’s schools to cease naming Yerushalayim as Israel’s capital, Army Radio reported today.
According to the report, the order followed a complaint from the Palestinian Embassy in Prague. The textbook’s publisher was instructed to mark Tel Aviv as the capital instead, and was warned that refusing the order could jeopardize his ties with the Czech ministry.
Yerushalayim and Prague maintain friendly ties, and the decision enraged Israel. “This is a reprehensible decision. Palestinian incitement knows no bounds, It is no longer satisfied with poisoning the minds of Palestinian youth — now it wants to spread lies and misinformation among Czech youth as well,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding it was in touch with Prague to reverse the decision.
According to the Prague Daily Monitor, the Palestinian Embassy complained to the Czech Education Ministry that an atlas used in elementary and secondary school, presents Yerushalayim as the capital of Israel.
“The ministry will resolutely demand a change of the given data,” the Education Ministry wrote in response to the complaint, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes reported.
Shocart Publishing, which prints the atlas in question, was ordered to “rewrite the data about the capital of Israel, otherwise the atlas will lose its certificate as an officially recognized school book,” the report said. Shocart must now present Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel.
Palestinian Ambassador to Prague Khlaed Alattrash said he “strongly appreciates” the ministry’s decision.
He told Czech media that he filed the complaint after the parents of schoolchildren from the local Palestinian community showed him the atlas.
“The atlas says something that is unacceptable not only for the Palestinians but also according to the international law and the official positions of the EU, including the Czech Republic,” Alattrash said.
Alattrash has approached the Czech Foreign Ministry with a request for a remedy and the latter forwarded the issue to the Education Ministry.
“The data in the atlas will be corrected as of the New Year,” Education Ministry spokeswoman Klara Bila said.
The Czech Foreign Ministry’s view of the status of Jerusalem is clear and it corresponds to the EU’s. “The Czech Republic does not consider east Jerusalem a part of the State of Israel,” ministry spokeswoman Irena Valentova said, adding that “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.”