Lycee Franco-Libanais Verdun, a French private school in Lebanon, apologized on Wednesday for a teacher who required students to identify Israel as “Israel” instead of “Palestine” during a geography lesson.
From a report by the Daily Star of Lebanon:
The controversy began when a man posted on Facebook Tuesday two photos showing text and pictures of occupied Palestine on a map with the word “Israel” handwritten over it.
Luay Ghandour wrote in the post, addressing the Education Minister: “This is what my daughter learned today in the fourth grade at the French Lycée school: that Lebanon is a country bordered by Israel,” the post said.
He then alleged his 9-year-old daughter had refuted that Israel bordered Lebanon, but was forced to write it by the teacher, who also provided the students with a printed map bearing the name Israel.
Ghandour then said that he would wait a few days to see if the school took action before making a claim.
The school ended up apologizing in a Facebook post that it “regrets the incident” and plans to investigate. It also reaffirmed its “deep commitment and respect for Lebanon’s sovereignty, its history, and the curricula it has a duty to transmit.”
Abu Faour, former Lebanese health minister, demanded a government investigation and “appropriate legal measures,” citing the U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as a reason for particular concern.
Minister of Education Marwan Hamade announced that the school has been asked to “take further action against the educator.”
“Had we seen this was an intentional mistake, it would have been a different matter. However, we need to view this incident for what it is, a grave mistake, that will be handled so that other schools and educators make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Hamade said.
As the Daily Star points out, Lebanon is technically at war with Israel and has not officially recognized its existence. The Associated Press adds that Lebanese law “bans dealing with or recognizing Israel, including showing it on maps.”