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Saudi Arabia: Royal Kingdom authorities omit Palestine’s territory, name from school textbook maps


The New Saudi curriculum for the year 2023 to 2024 appears to have omitted the name of Palestine from Maps in social and national studies textbooks, according to the report by an Arab news agency, recent images from these textbooks shows a map from Saudi Arabia and its neighbouring countries, but the area traditionally labelled as Palestine is left unnamed. This contrasts with the maps from 2022 textbooks which included Palestine.

This is according to a report recently released by the pro-Israeli think tank IMPACT-se, the Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education. IMPACT-se has reviewed 371 textbooks for the year 2023-2024 year comparing and contrasting the Saudi curriculum with previous years. It also revealed that the current year’s textbooks have removed or altered all existing violent interpretations of Jihad.


IMPACT-se reports indicates while the Palestine has not been entirely erased from Saudi’s educational content, its presence has been significantly reduced. The study highlights that maps now predominantly display the state of Israel without demarcating the Palestinian territory. Additionally, references to Palestinian identity are reported less frequent and les emphasised than the past editions.

Over 21 problematic examples were removed, many of which existed in the now abolished Courses Systems textbooks. This includes a Social Studies high school textbooks containing an entire chapter on the Palestinian cause rife with content violating UNESCO standards of peace and tolerance,” the report added.

The revised Saudi curriculum reflects significant changes from the previous academic year particularly in terminology related to Israel. Words deemed hostile towards Israel have been removed including terms such as enemy and the Zionist enemy, Additionally, the references waring of Israeli ambitions in the region and efforts to displace Palestinians have been excised.

The textbooks now refer to East Jerusalem as occupied and now designate it as Palestinian Capital, rather than the entire city of Jerusalem, Moreover Zionism is no long described as a racist European movement and other critical languages towards Israel have been moderated. The changes are believed to be linked to the US mediated talks aimed at normalising relations between Riyadh and Tel Aviv.

Critics argue that this revisionist approach undermines the historical and ongoing plight of the Palestinian people potentially diminishing awareness of the Palestinians cause among Saudi students. Conversely, the supporters believe it represents a pragmatic approach towards fostering regional peace and cooperation.

The Saudi government has not officially commented on the IMPACT-se findings. However, the textbook changes are consistent with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vision of the year 2030 initiative aiming to modernise and the Kingdom and enhance relations with the Western countries and Israel.