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The Dartmouth
April 14, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Letter to the Editor: The Truth about ‘From the River to the Sea’

The phrase “from the river to the sea” has been used by Israeli politicians to denote the denial of rights for Palestinians.

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I want to first thank the author for his efforts in explaining what happened on Feb. 10. But to be clear, “from the river to the sea” is a phrase used by both Israelis and Palestinians with different connotations for each side. 

When used by Israeli politicians, “from the river to the sea” is a chant that calls for the elimination of Palestine as an entity, and the genocide of the Palestinian people through the denial of their rights and outright expulsion. Palestinians have been denied the realization of their right to self-determination since Great Britain granted Jewish Zionists the right to establish a national homeland in Palestine through the Balfour Declaration of 1917. The phrase appears in the Likud Party charter of 1977, where they say “Between the [Mediterranean] Sea and the Jordan [River], there will only be Israeli sovereignty.” In 2014, former Israeli cabinet member Uri Ariel said, “Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea there will be only one state, which is Israel.” The phrase has also been used by the Israeli Prime Minister and Likud Party head Benjamin Netanyahu in speeches — effectively calling for continuing the expansion of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem by the Israeli government. Similar wording has also been used more recently by other Israeli politicians in ways that deny the existence or rights of the Palestinian people.

In contrast to the way Israeli politicians use this phrase, pro-Palestinian organizers use the phrase “from the river to the sea” as a call for freedom. The crux of the conflict between Israel and Palestine continues to be the Israeli government’s ongoing denial of Palestinians’ right to equality, freedom and dignity like everyone else. I believe that pro-Palestinian protesters should not be equated to supporters of armed groups, who have not been present at the thousands of peaceful protests around the world and here in the U.S.

Ahmad Herzallah ’27 is the president of the Arab Student Association. Letters to the Editor represent the views of their author(s), which are not necessarily those of The Dartmouth.