Pulled after Palestine row
Book withdrawn amid parental anger
A school operator has withdrawn a ninth-grade history textbook after parents complained that sections on ‘terrorism in Palestine’ cast the country in a negative light.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) in Dubai pulled Technology, War and Independence by Oxford University Press over a section 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 it is Israel that is the established state and Palestinians are the aggressors, some parents suggested. Abdul Hafeez, originally from Tulkarem in the West Bank, told 7DAYS: “I couldn’t believe it. In this lesson they are talking about the Palestinians as terrorists. I was really shocked. They are feeding the kids wrong information and developing this hatred between kids in other nations.” Another parent, who asked not to be named, added: “The worry is these books are not only going to Choueifat but that people are pushing this kind of content to the new generation.” Neil Smooker, Deputy Regional Director of SABIS, which operates ISC, said: “The Grade 9 History book KS3 Technology, War, and Independence 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 We have henceforth withdrawn the book from our curriculum.” The group has withdrawn the textbooks from its schools in Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan, according to media reports in those countries.
A spokesman for Oxford University Press said the book has been published since 2004 without any prior complaints.
He told 7DAYS: “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. We always work to ensure our titles are accurate, and regret any offence that has been caused on this occasion.”