Maps in new Saudi textbooks mention neither Israel nor Palestine

“Saudi Arabia removes Palestine from maps in school textbooks”, headlined the Qatari site on May 29 Arabi21, adding that “words considered hostile to Israel” were also “deleted”, in whole or in part, texts.

Many Arab media repeat these same assertions by referring to the report of 267 pages and dated May 2024 which has just been published by the Israeli NGO IMPACT-se (Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education).

“It’s clear that people don’t read” And “do not understand” the more than 200 pages of this report, including reading “requires time” And “a little critical thinking”, exclaims the correspondent in the Gulf of New York Times Vivian Nereim on her X account.

“Continued progress towards moderation”

The report in fact recalls that until now the maps in Saudi school textbooks “referred to as Palestine” the entire territory constituted by Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

In school textbooks for the year 2023-2024, Israel has not replaced the mention of Palestine on Saudi maps: the territory in question is simply no longer named. Moreover, the report states, most countries that do not border Saudi Arabia are not mentioned nominally.

Other changes have been made to the manuals. Thus, it is no longer the entire city of Jerusalem, but only East Jerusalem which is qualified as the occupied Palestinian capital. Likewise, a textbook that described Zionism as a “Jewish racist movement, of European origin, which seeks to expel the Palestinian people” is no longer used during the current school year.

“Overall, the report published in May mentions ‘continued progress towards moderation, openness and peaceful development’ following the various changes in Saudi textbooks,” notes the Lebanese daily The Orient-The Day.

“The whole report is worth reading,” concludes Vivian Nereim, recalling that he analyzes many other subjects, including in particular the evolution of the representation of non-Muslims, less systematically described in a pejorative manner.

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