Skip to main content

'Palestine' apparently removed from Saudi textbook maps

'Palestine' apparently removed from Saudi textbook maps, Israel-based thinktank report shows
MENA
2 min read
29 May, 2024
Palestine has been left unnamed in textbook maps, and language deemed hostile to Israel has been changed, according to an Israel-based thinktank.
The maps from the new textbooks don't say 'Palestine' or 'Israel' [IMPACT-se]

The new Saudi curriculum seem to have removed the name of Palestine from school textbook maps.

Images from the 2023-2024 Social and National Studies textbook depict a map of Saudi Arabia and surrounding countries, with the area of Palestine left unnamed, unlike maps in 2022 textbooks, a report by pro-Israeli thinktank IMPACT-se says.

IMPACT-se is a think tank which analyses school curricula and has offices in Israel and the UK. It has however been the subject of controversy in the past.

The latest Saudi curricula show significant changes to textbooks from the previous academic year, even in the terminology.

Words considered "hostile" to Israel were removed from several texts in the curriculum, especially terms such as "enemy" and "the Zionist enemy," and text which warned of Israeli ambitions in the region and efforts to expel the Palestinians from their land was also removed.

The textbook, according to IMPACT-se, reference East Jerusalem as occupied and as the Palestinian capital, instead of the whole of Jerusalem.

Zionism is also not referred to as a "racist European movement" anymore, and other very critical language of Israel has been amended.

Overall, 21 cases of anti-Israel sentiment in old textbooks were removed.

The changes are speculated to be tied to US-mediated talks seeking to normalise relations between Riyadh and Tel Aviv.

The US earlier this month said it was close to reaching a defence pact with Saudi Arabia, which could make way for Israeli normalisation. Riyadh has said it will not broker ties with Israel before a Palestinian statehood is granted, something Israel’s far-right government has refused.