Israel pulls textbooks that present Palestinian claim of ethnic cleansing in 1948





The Ministry of Education has taken the unusual step of collecting all copies of the history textbook, "Nationalism: Building a State in the Middle East" which was published about two months ago by the Zalman Shazar Center. They will be returned to the shelves only after corrections are made to the text, particularly with reference to the War of Independence.

The book had already been approved by the ministry.

"Collecting the books from the shops is an unnecessary [form of] censorship," said Dr. Tsafrir Goldberg, who wrote the controversial chapter on the war. "The process of approving the text was completed in serious fashion from both the pedagogic and the historic points of view. The fact that the education minister changed does not mean that it is possible to bypass this procedure."

On September 22, Haaretz reported that the textbook, which is meant for 11th and 12th-grades, for the first time presented the Palestinian claim that there had been ethnic cleansing in 1948.

"The Palestinians and the Arab countries contended that most of the refugees were civilians who were attacked and expelled from their homes by armed Jewish forces, which instituted a policy of ethnic cleansing, contrary to the proclamations of peace in the Declaration of Independence," states the text, which presented the Palestinian and the Israeli-Jewish versions side by side.

Criticism about the book was voiced by history teachers.


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