Two textbooks given out to Jordanian school children caused an uproar among anti-Zionist groups in the Hashemite Kingdom recently by listing Israel on the map of the Middle East – but failing to include Jordan and Palestine.
The textbooks, which were distributed by the Jordanian education ministry among students in grades one through 12, teach students about health; but a drawn map featured on some of the pages seems to relay a skewed lesson in geography: While Israel, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Iraq are all marked, Jordan isn't. However, cities in the Hashemite Kingdom, including Amman, Irbid and Zarqa are listed.
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"In effect, the exclusion of these names annexes Palestine to Jordan," the West Bank Association said in a statement. "Anyone who recognizes the Zionist entity eliminates Jordan and Palestine."
One of the images
According to the association, one of the books that feature the map warns students against smoking, while the other deals with proper eating habits. The books were part of a series financed by the American foreign assistance agency USAID.
"This step intentionally and offensively misleads children under the guise of imparting health awareness," the group said.
The Jordanian Association against Zionism echoed the sentiment, claiming that the exclusions were not made unwittingly. The fact that the map does list the Golan Heights as an occupied territory, the group argued, but does not specify other occupied regions – referring to Palestine – indicates the omission was intentional.
Intentional attempt to 'misguide' students?
The group called on all "respectable teachers" to refuse to give out the books, and "warn the students about the dangers that they contain."
Professional groups in Jordan were also enraged by the inclusion of Israel in the map, faulting the books with perpetuating "new terms" that Jordanians oppose.
"If it wasn't for our students and teachers' vigilance, these books would have continued to be distributed and to pollute our pupils' sensibilities by imbuing the word 'Israel' – an oppressive entity – and excluding Jordan from the map."
Dissent under the guise of health education?
The chairman of the Jordanian agronomists' association, Mahmoud Abu Ghanima, said the books should be pulled out, and those who helped distribute them should be indicted.
In an interview with the Ad-Dustour newspaper, the chairman of the teachers' association, Mustafa Rawashdeh, further called for the indictment of those responsible for the mishap.
The education ministry, in turn, told the newspaper it has established a committee to probe the allegations.
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