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Aramco Handbook Ignores Existence of Israel; Eliminates It from Maps

September 26, 1961
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The West’s attitude towards the Palestine Arab refugee question and “a real sense of insecurity with respect to possible further expansion of Israel” are the major reasons why the Arab States have turned to the Soviet Union for arms and economic assistance, according to the “Aramco Handbook,” published by the Arabian American Oil Company for the guidance of its employees.

The Iavish volume, profusely illustrated and printed in The Netherlands, has been distributed by the oil company to public libraries throughout the country. The 343-page volume contains only two references to Israel–a brief reference to the fact that “the Arab States dispute Israel’s claims to rights in the Gulf of Akaba,” and a longer reference to the Arab-Israeli dispute as a source of tension in the Middle East.

Nor does the name of Israel appear anywhere on the score or more of maps appearing in the book, or on any of the numerous charts on the Middle East which are included in the book. An illustration, in color, “Middle East Flags,” depicts the national colors of 10 Middle East countries, but not the blue-white flag of Israel.

A historical section, describing the mandate system established after World War I, makes reference to the British Mandate over Palestine and the subsequent severance of Jordan for establishment as an independent state, but fails to report that the Palestine Mandate ended with establishment of the State of Israel in part of the territory of Palestine or to explain in any way how the Palestine Arab refugee situation was created.


In dealing with present tensions in the Middle East, the “Aramco Handbook” notes that “another cause has been the tragic impasse in the Arab-Israeli conflict. Current problems in the Middle East cannot be understood without a comprehension of how strongly the Arabs feel on this issue. The West’s apparent indifference to Arab viewpoint and to the plight of the million or so Arab refugees displaced from their homes in Palestine has been both disillusioning and frustrating to the Arabs.”

The editors added that “these feelings, coupled with a real sense of insecurity with respect to possible further expansion of Israel, largely explain why Egypt and later Syria turned to the Soviet Union for arms and economic assistance after failing to get what they wanted from the West.”

An introduction to the handbook noted that it had been prepared by Aramco employees who are not professional writers and that the central purpose was “to help Aramco employees see the Aramco venture in proper perspective–to see what is happening today against the background of the past and in the light of current world affairs.” Opinions expressed, it said,” do not necessarily represent official views of Company management.” No reference is made to Aramco discriminating employment practices with respect to Jews.

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