What Palestinians Want — in Their Own Words — When They Say ‘From the River to the Sea’
The Forward has a piece from Maha Nassar claiming that the phrase “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” really means a country where Jews have equal rights with Arabs in all respects. She says that Zionists are purposefully choosing the interpretation of that phrase that Hamas uses — one where Jews have no place in the land.
She is correct in saying that Fatah has never explicitly said that it would force Jews out of the land (although she concedes many might want to leave). That is probably true. But that is a long way from pretending that Jews would have the same equal rights in “Palestine” that Arabs in Israel do today.
So assuming that Fatah represents “mainstream” Palestinian thought (even though Hamas did win the only real elections they ever had), what is Fatah’s goal?
First of all, their goal is not the two-state solution. The 2009 Fatah platform, which is still in effect, says: “The objectives, principles and methods stipulated in the first chapter of the basic law (charter) of Fatah remain the key elements of our Movement and part of the intellectual and political entity of our people.”
Here is an excerpt from the first chapter of the Fatah charter:
Principles … Goals … Methods
The Movement’s Essential Principles
Article (1) Palestine is part of the Arab World, and the Palestinian people are part of the Arab Nation, and their struggle is part of its struggle.
If, as Israel’s critics charge, a Jewish state is by its very nature discriminatory against non-Jews, then they have to admit that an Arab state is by its nature discriminatory against non-Arabs. If they claim that Arabs would be more liberal towards Jews than Israel is towards its Arab citizens, they are knowingly lying.
Article (2) The Palestinian people have an independent identity. They are the sole authority that decides their own destiny, and they have complete sovereignty on all their lands.
No room for Jewish political power:
Article (3) The Palestinian Revolution plays a leading role in liberating Palestine.
Article (4) The Palestinian struggle is part and parcel of the world-wide struggle against Zionism, colonialism and international imperialism.
Even the idea that Jews might want power would be illegal in Palestine, since Zionism is the enemy, not an alternative national movement that deserves equal weight.
Article (7) The Zionist Movement is racial, colonial and aggressive in ideology, goals, organisation and method.
Therefore, Zionists would not be tolerated in Palestine.
Article (8) The Israeli existence in Palestine is a Zionist invasion with a colonial expansive base, and it is a natural ally to colonialism and international imperialism.
Jews would have no equal access to holy places. Or access at all.
Article (10) Palestinian National Liberation Movement, “FATEH,” is an independent national revolutionary movement representing the revolutionary vanguard of the Palestinian people.
Article (12) Complete liberation of Palestine, and eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.
And here is Fatah’s official position on violence:
Article (17) Armed public revolution is the inevitable method to liberating Palestine.
And this is still part of the Fatah platform, today:
Article (19) Armed struggle is a strategy and not a tactic, and the Palestinian Arab People’s armed revolution is a decisive factor in the liberation fight and in uprooting the Zionist existence, and this struggle will not cease unless the Zionist state is demolished and Palestine is completely liberated.
This is the most liberal interpretation of the phrase “from the river to the sea” possible. There is no Palestinian calling for anything more inclusive of Jews than what is described here. Anyone who thinks that this is an acceptable or even desirable goal — the creation of yet another Arab state that pays lip service to equality but which is antisemitic (and anti-Christian) to the core — is fooling themselves.
In reality, the Palestinian state would treat Jews, at best, the same way that Arab political leaders in the West Bank have treated Christians — with such contempt and bias that the vast majority have fled over the decades of both Jordanian and Palestinian rule.
If a state with truly equal rights in the Middle East is the goal, then why does Israel have to be the only state that is morally obligated to be replaced — when it is truly the only state in the world where Jews can have self determination?
Yes, there is tension in Israel between absolute equality and being a Jewish state. But those who complain that Israel must be dismantled to create an Arab state that would give far fewer rights to Jews than Israel does to Arabs are not interested in equality; they are interested in destroying the human right of self determination for Jews and only Jews.
If there is any iota of evidence that Palestinians can govern themselves in a more tolerant way than any other Arab state, I am anxious to hear about it. And if there is any evidence that a Palestinian state would treat its minorities better than Israel does, by all means enlighten me. The very idea is ludicrous, and even Israel’s most fervent critics couldn’t say with a straight face that a Palestinian state would be more inclusive than Israel is today. This means that the people screaming “from the river to the sea” aren’t interested in equal rights. They are antisemitic, plain and simple.
Elder of Ziyon has been blogging about Israel and the Arab world for a really long time now. He also controls the world, but deep down, you already knew that.