A school operator has withdrawn a ninth-grade history textbook after parents complained that sections on terrorism in Palestine cast the country in a negative light.
The International School of Choueifat (ISC) pulled the book over a chapter in Technology, War and Independence, by Oxford University Press titled ‘what is a terrorist’.
Parents objected to the repeated use of the phrase ‘Palestinian terrorists’.
They also took issue with a definition of suicide bomber that read: “Explosives are attached to the bomber’s body. They approach their target and explode the bomb. Palestinian terrorists are well-known for this.”
The book also states that the Palestinians “wanted their own country – Palestine – and wanted land that Israel occupies”. This suggested that it is Israel that is the established state and Palestinians are the aggressors, some parents suggested.
One parent, Abdul Hafeez, originally from Tulkarem in the West Bank, had earlier said he was considering taking his 14 year-old daughter out of the school.
He told 7DAYS: “I couldn’t believe it. In this lesson they are talking about the Palestinians as terrorists. I was really shocked to see this.
“They are feeding the kids wrong information and developing this hatred between kids in other nations. We pay tons of money for this school and it is ridiculous we pay this much to teach our kids something stupid and untrue.”
Another parent, who asked not to be named, added: “In every paragraph they were using ‘Palestinian terrorists’ as examples of suicide bombers which [they said] Palestinians are well known for.”
“The worry is that these books are not only going to Choueifat but that people are pushing this kind of content to the new generation in this region.”
Neil Smooker, Deputy Regional Director of SABIS, which operates ISC, said: ‘The Grade 9 History book KS3 Technology, War, and Independence, printed by Oxford University press, does not contain the words or thoughts of our school or staff, and ultimately does not reflect our opinions on world matters.
“It was a human error to overlook some of the book’s contents. We have henceforth withdrawn the book from our curriculum.”
A spokesman for Oxford University Press told 7DAYS that the book has been published since 2004 without any prior complaints.
He said: “We are currently updating the title, and will carry out a thorough review of the section in question to ensure it is accurate and culturally sensitive. Customers looking to return their titles should speak to their local bookshop. We always work to ensure our titles are accurate, and regret any offence that has been caused on this occasion.”