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Israeli minister draws the line on W Bank map

Written by: Staff

JERUSALEM, Dec 5 (Reuters) Maps in new editions of Israeli textbooks should no longer show the West Bank as part of Israel, Education Minister Yuli Tamir said today, ordering a line drawn between the occupied territory and the Jewish state.

''If we don't show these borders, we will turn out very confused children,'' Tamir, a member of the centre-left Labour Party, told Army Radio.

Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 West Asia war but stopped short of annexing the territory, where Palestinians want to establish a state that will include the Gaza Strip.

Tamir said maps appearing in some textbooks don't show the pre-1967 war boundary, known as the ''Green Line'', leading pupils to believe the West Bank is formally part of Israel.

She said ''this problem should be rectified'' in new editions used by the state school system.

''You cannot expect children to understand history if portions are excised from school texts,'' said Tamir, a founder of Peace Now, a left-wing Israeli group opposed to Jewish settlement in the West Bank.

Emily Amrusy, a spokeswoman for the Jewish settlers' YESHA council, called on school principals to defy Tamir, accusing her of ''trying to sever a fifth of Israel's area from the maps''.

Many of the 260,000 Jews who live in the West Bank, home to some 2.4 million Palestinians, claim the territory as a biblical birthright. The World Court has deemed Jewish settlements on occupied land illegal. Israel disputes this.

Ronit Tirosh, a legislator from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's centrist Kadima party, said Tamir ''cannot decide for Israeli pupils what is part of Israel and what isn't''.

''If she draws a line, soon we will need visas to visit the settlements,'' said Tirosh, a former director-general of the Education Ministry.


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