In video – “From the river to the sea…”, the story behind the slogan

In video – “From the river to the sea…”, the story behind the slogan
In video – “From the river to the sea…”, the story behind the slogan

Published on May 8, 2024 at 8:36 p.m. / Modified on May 8, 2024 at 8:38 p.m.

This slogan, which we have seen and heard in all the pro-Palestinian demonstrations, seems to pose a problem. At the University of Geneva, students had to remove it from the UniMail lobby. In Germany and Great Britain, its use is punishable by a fine.

Franco-Palestinian activist Rima Hassan was heavily criticized for its use, as was US MP Rashida Tlaib. The House of Representatives also adopted a resolution condemning the slogan as anti-Semitic.

But where does it come from and what does it mean? First of all, a geography course is essential. The river is the Jordan and the sea is the Mediterranean. Between the two, it is therefore the territory of Palestine before its partition by the UN in 1947. “From the river to the sea” therefore concretely means that this territory must remain united. But for whose benefit?

The formula has actually been used by both sides throughout history. For example by the Palestine Liberation Organization in the early 1960s, which called for the creation of a single state. But also by Likud in its first manifesto. It is its recovery by Hamas which now gives it a problematic meaning: that of expressing the desire to eradicate Israel.

Today, however, it is also used in a peaceful manner by supporters of a binational state, who therefore believe in a single territory on which Palestinians and Israelis would live in peace and have equal rights. In this they oppose the defenders of a two-state solution (one Arab, the other Israeli)… or those who preach the domination of one over the other.

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