Textbooks In Israel to Designate West Bank

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Maps in future Israeli public school textbooks will show the boundary that existed between Israel and the West Bank before the 1967 Middle East war, Israel's education minister announced Tuesday. The move drew sharp protest from lawmakers, settler groups and religious leaders who claim the West Bank as part of the Jewish state.

The minister, Yuli Tamir, is a member of the Labor Party and a founder of the advocacy group Peace Now, which opposes Jewish settlement in the occupied territories. Palestinians envision a future state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem, all of which Israel occupied in 1967.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has stated that Israel should evacuate parts of the West Bank so as to define its borders around land with a solid Jewish majority. He has said that several large Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank would be included as part of Israel in any final peace deal.

The Israeli government has frequently criticized the Palestinians and neighboring Arab states for using maps in classrooms that do not define the state of Israel, now 58 years old. The maps generally mark it as "Palestine."

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