Palestine
A Palestinian refugee signs a banner painted with the map of Palestine during a demonstration to mark the 63rd anniversary of 'Nakba', Arabic for 'Catastrophe', in Shouneh west of Amman.Reuters

An atlas published for Middle Eastern schools which omitted Israel is to be removed from sale by publisher HarperCollins following a fierce backlash.

The Collins Middle East Atlas "shows Jordan and Syria extending all the way to the Mediterranean", according to Catholic newspaper The Tablet.

Collins Bartholomew, a subsidiary of HarperCollins, told the outlet that the decision to remove Israel from the atlas was a concious one that took into account "local preferences" as the inclusion of Israel would have been "unacceptable" to its Gulf buyers.

In response to the exclusion of Israel, HarperCollins has issued a "sincere" apology in a statement posted on its Facebook page.

"HarperCollins regrets the omission of the name Israel from their Collins Middle East Atlas. This product has now been removed from sale in all territories and all remaining stock will be pulped," it reads.

"HarperCollins sincerely apologises for this omission and for any offence caused."

Vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and HarperCollins author, Alex Brummer, said that the decision to omit Israel was "outrageous".

"The offending map shows the West Bank marked immediately adjacent to the Gaza strip as if Israel did not exist. In effect, HarperCollins achieved what the former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatened at the stroke of a pen: wiped Israel off the map," he wrote.

He added that it was "welcome" that HarperCollins "reversed itself and hopefully it will be on guard against further offensive publications".

"But one would also like to see the diplomatic and foreign policy community fully engaged in combating antisemitic tropes and denials of the horrors of the Holocaust that still form part of the curriculum and textbooks in many parts of the Arab world."