Palestine, from the river to the sea, between colonialism and liberty

May 28, 2024
Bill Clinton, Yitzhak Rabin, Yasser Arafat at the White House 1993-09-13.

When Labor and Liberal politicians repeat deceptive Israeli propaganda without scrutiny and knowledge of the facts, they lose credibility and reveal their undignified ignorance and sycophantic submission to Israel. We heard leaders from both sides repeating Israel’s accusation that those who raise the slogan “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free” are being antisemites. Let us examine the facts.

The aims of the Zionist organisation, from its founding father Theodor Herzl, “The Complete Diaries”, Vol. I, p. 88. to Israel’s founding leaders Chaim Weizmann and David Ben-Gurion, to Benjamin Netanyahu, were never to establish a Jewish state in a part of Palestine. Their aim has been all along to colonise all of Palestine from the river to the sea and parts of neighbouring Arab states, which they call “Eretz Israel”, and to ethnically cleanse the Palestinian people.

Herzl wrote in his diary that the area of the Jewish state stretches: “From the Brook of Egypt to the Euphrates.” He also wrote we should “try to spirit the penniless population across the border.”

In 1947, the United Nations in resolution 181, gave the newly arrived European Jewish colonialists, whose number at that time did not exceed one-third of the population, owning less than 6% of the land, 56.47 per cent of Palestine including the best Palestinian agricultural land and cities, to establish a Jewish state, and the two-thirds indigenous Palestinian population, who owned 94 per cent of the land, only 42 per cent of their own country. The capital of Palestine, Jerusalem was to be placed under international trusteeship.

The Palestinians rejected this unjust and illegal partition, saying the United Nations had no jurisdiction to partition any country against the wishes of the majority of its people. They instead proposed Britain’s withdrawal, Palestine’s independence and for all citizens to live equally under the law in a democratic system. The Zionists, on the other hand, accepted the partition because it gave them, for the first time, the legitimacy they were looking for, but with the intention to expand beyond the partition borders and ethnically cleanse Palestinians, as Ben Gurion and other Zionist leaders were advocating openly.

On 1 April 1948, in collusion with British forces, the Haganah, the Stern Gang and the Irgun launched Plan Dalet a military operation, with two objectives: to seize the largest possible part of Palestine outside the boundaries of the partition and to ethnically cleanse as many Palestinians as possible in order to make the Palestinian majority a minority and the newly arrived European Jewish minority a majority.

Through terror and dozens of massacres, they ethnically cleansed between 800,000 and 900,000 Palestinians, which was over 70 per cent of the Palestinian population, from their cities and villages, stripping them of everything they owned except the clothes on their backs.

With complete contempt for the UN, its charter, members, and international law, they occupied 78 per cent of Palestine in addition to West Jerusalem, which represents 85 per cent of the city, violating UN resolution 181 which gave Israel its legitimacy.

On 14 May 1948, the Zionist Organisation announced the establishment of Israel over 78 per cent of Palestine. They shut the borders and prevented the ethnically cleansed refugees—and those who were outside of Palestine on business, visit or study—from returning home.

Thus, Al Nakba (the Catastrophe) and the Palestine issue were born.

The UN passed Resolution 194 calling on Israel to let the Palestinian refugees return and pay them compensation. Israel refused to do so.

When Israel applied to become a member of the UN, the UN refused its membership and demanded its withdrawal from the territories it occupied beyond Partition Resolution 181 and the return of the refugees as per UN Resolution 194. Israel eventually caved in and pledged to comply with the two resolutions and the UN charter. Accordingly, its membership was approved on 11 May 1949, conditionally subject to Israel’s implementation of the two resolutions.

But as soon as it became a member, Israel again refused to fulfil its obligations. Therefore, Israel’s membership in the UN is illegal.

In 1967, Israel launched its aggression, occupied what remained of Palestine and parts of neighbouring Arab countries, and ethnically cleansed a further half million Palestinians.

The UNSC issued Resolution 242, “emphasising the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war,” demanded Israel’s withdrawal and the achievement of “a just settlement of the refugee problem.” Israel refused to comply. and immediately annexed East Jerusalem, declared all Jerusalem its capital and began building Jewish colonies.

On 13 September 1993, Israel and the PLO signed the Oslo Accords on the White House lawns.

The agreement set time guidelines to resolve the Palestine issue over five years in two phases. In the first phase of three years, Israel was to withdraw from 90 per cent of the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories, release Palestinian political prisoners, and freeze all settlement building and expansion.

The second phase of two years is to resolve other outstanding issues, namely the question of the Palestinian refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, water, and security. Israel would complete its withdrawal from the remaining 10 per cent of the territories, and the state of Palestine would be established in 1999.

As was to become clear Israel did not sign the Oslo Accords in good faith.

Instead of withdrawing and working on building confidence measures with the Palestinian people, Israel punished them and used the so-called peace process as a cover to consolidate its occupation. It stepped up the confiscation of land, the building of Jewish colonies and an apartheid wall inside the Occupied Territories.

Jewish extremists and settler leaders such as ministers Ben Gvir, Bezalel Smotrich, Aryeh Deri and others, are governing Israel with Prime Minister Netanyahu. They are against the Oslo Peace Accords, against withdrawal, against a Palestinian state and recognition of Palestinian rights. They are the camp that advocated for the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin who was assassinated by a Jewish extremist on 4 November 1995, because he was willing to withdraw from the occupied territories.

Since the signing of the Oslo Accords, the number of Jewish colonies and colonialists in the West Bank and Jerusalem has more than tripled. Israel’s construction of Jewish-only colonies indicates its lack of intention to withdraw from the 1967-occupied Palestinian territories.

Israel now controls all of Palestine from the river to the sea, and a Jewish minority practices a policy of apartheid against the Palestinian majority with two laws, a civilian law for Jews and a military law for Palestinians.

To consolidate the apartheid system, the Israeli parliament passed on 18 July 2018, the racist Jewish Nation-State Law declaring that all of historical Palestine, from the river to the sea belonged to all Jews around the world wherever they were, that they alone had the right to self-determination. Thus, they officially declared Jews first-class citizens and Muslims and Christians second-class. This law came in addition to sixty-five other racist laws against Muslims and Christians, as documented by the Legal Centre for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Adalah.

The governing Israeli Likud Party, led by PM Netanyahu, states in its charter Between the Sea and the Jordan [river] there will only be Israeli sovereignty.” And that “Settlement. both urban and rural, in all parts of the Land of Israel [which they consider to include both sides of the Jordan River] is the focal point of the Zionist effort to redeem the country, maintain vital security areas and serve as a reservoir of strength and inspiration for the renewal of the pioneering spirit”.

During his speech at the United Nations in September 2023, Netanyahu presented a map showing all of historic Palestine from the river to the sea as Israel.

The encroachment of Jewish colonies makes establishing a viable Palestinian state on the remaining Palestinian lands impossible.

The only viable, just and lasting solution that will fulfil the aspirations of both sides, Palestinians and Jews, will be for people to live equally together in a democratic state.

Accordingly, while Israel has been practising a colonial apartheid policy over all of Palestine from the river to the sea and depriving the Palestinian people of their self-determination, and the refugees of their inalienable right of return, in violation of UN resolutions and international law, the Palestinian people are calling for Palestine to be free from the river to the sea where people regardless of their religion or ethnicity live equally in one democratic state under the law.

So who is the anti-other here? Is it the one who practices the policy of occupation, colonialism, and apartheid, or the one who calls for equality, liberty and democracy? Only anti-Palestinian racists would be on the side of colonial apartheid Israel.


Article updated May 29, 2024.

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