Monday, 3 December 2018

MfD: Czech atlases must not label Jerusalem Israeli capital

ČTK |
23 August 2016

Prague, Aug 22 (CTK) - Czech school atlases must not label Jerusalem the capital of Israel, the Education Ministry has decided in reaction to a complaint from the Palestinian embassy, daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) writes on Monday.

One of the atlases which has been used by elementary and secondary school students, presents Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This has met with protests of the Palestinian embassy.

"The ministry will resolutely demand a change of the given data," the Education Ministry wrote in response to the complaint.

The publisher, the Shocart company, will have to rewrite the data about the capital of Israel, otherwise the atlas will lose its certificate as an officially recognised school book, for the purchase of which schools can be granted a subsidy, the daily writes.

Khaled Alattrash, the Palestinian ambassador to Prague, said he strongly appreciates the ministry's decision.

He said the dispute erupted after the parents of schoolchildren from the local Palestinian community showed him the atlas whose texts as well as maps present Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.

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 is quoted as saying.

That is why he turned to the Czech Foreign Ministry with a request for a remedy. After a few weeks, the dispute was transferred to the Education Ministry.

The ambassador met Deputy Education Minister Dana Prudikova and sent another letter, to the Education Ministry this time.

As a result, Shocart is obliged to start presenting Tel-Aviv as the capital of Israel.

"The data in the atlas will be corrected as of the New Year," the Education Ministry's spokeswoman Klara Bila told MfD.

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," the ministry's spokeswoman Irena Valentova said, adding that the Shocart atlas does not express Prague's official position.

"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.

This is at variance with the position of Israel, which considers Jerusalem its capital based on its unilateral decision from 1949, MfD writes, citing Jan Zouplna, an expert in Oriental studies at the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Shocart managers said they overlooked the mistake in the atlas.

Addressed by MfD, Jan Ptacek, from another publishing company, Kartografie, said their atlas presents Tel-Aviv as the Israeli capital but it also informs about the Israeli government's position.

Ptacek, as well as Karel Krsak, from Shocart, said there are more politically sensitive cases of presenting annexed or otherwise torn-away areas in maps.

At present, such a controversial area is Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in February 2014.

"We present it as a disputed area, neither Ukrainian nor Russian," Krsak said, and Ptacek commented similarly, MfD writes.

Copyright 2015 by the Czech News Agency (ČTK). All rights reserved.
Copying, dissemination or other publication of this article or parts thereof without the prior written consent of ČTK is expressly forbidden. The Prague Daily Monitor is not responsible for its content.