"The fathers and mothers of the students in Jerusalem have the right to choose the curriculum which conforms to their beliefs, religion, norms and traditions," insisted Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, Head of the High Islamic Committee in Jerusalem al-Quds. "This is guaranteed by international and divinely-inspired laws."
Sheikh Sabri told local radio that, "Students and their families have used the strike to express their rejection of the Israeli curriculum and to declare that they are sticking to the Palestinian one." The veteran Imam called for mass media and Palestinian and international organisations to defend the right of the Palestinians to decide on their own curriculum.
Some 150 Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem al-Quds on Monday shut their doors to protest against attempts of the Israeli government to censor the textbooks and impose the Israeli curriculum in classrooms.
About 100,000 students refrained from going to their schools in compliance with the strike, a warning step after the Israeli government began taking punitive measures against schools to force them to "drop the Palestinian narrative from the curricula they teach and to include the Israeli narrative only," official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.
Ziad al-Shamali, head of the Union of Parents in East Jerusalem, told Qatar-based Al Jazeera that if Israel's efforts succeed, it "will have control over the education of 90 percent of our students in Jerusalem."
Some 115,000 students from kindergarten to grade 12 attend more than 280 Palestinian schools in Jerusalem al-Quds, according to al-Shamali.
On Sunday night, videos went viral on social media platforms, in which residents of East Jerusalem al-Quds hung up posters reading "general strike - yes to the Palestinian curriculum, no to the distorted curriculum."
In late July, Israel revoked the permanent licenses of six Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem al-Quds, citing that their textbooks contain content deemed as "incitement" against Israel and its military.
For decades, disputes over the textbooks used by Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem al-Quds have existed between the two sides. The Palestinians slam Israel for interfering in their choice of textbooks and hindering them from receiving financial assistance for education from international organizations and Western countries.
Israel occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds in the 1967 war, and has controlled them ever since.