A phrase whose very utterance can get you kicked off Israel’s social media or result in your club being booted from a university has found a prominent place in a recent speech by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “In the future, the State of Israel has to control the entire area from the river to the sea,” is the live English translation of a speech he made, as covered in a now-deleted tweet by Israel-based i24 News.
Here is the phrase in context:
“For 30 years, I am very consistent. And I’m saying something very simple. This conflict is not on the lack of a state of Palestine, but the existence of a state: the Jewish state. Every area that we evacuate, we receive terrible terror against us. It happened in south Lebanon, in Gaza, and also in Judea and Samaria. And therefore, I clarify that in other arrangements … that any other arrangements … in the future, the State of Israel has to control the entire area from the river to the sea. This is what happens when you have sovereignty. This truth I say to our American friends, and I also stopped the attempt to impose on us a reality that will jeopardize us. A prime minister in Israel has to be able to say no, even to the best of friends, to say ‘no’ when you need to, and to say ‘yes’ when you can.”
Palestinian references to freedom “from the river to the sea” have been denounced as intending genocide, by interpreting it to be calling for a single Palestinian state which, it is claimed, would then expel the Jews from the area.
When U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib used the phrase, she was censured by the House of Representatives. The six words serve as a “rallying cry for the destruction of the State of Israel and genocide of the Jewish people,” insisted Democratic members supporting the censure motion.
How will Netanyahu’s remarks (which are of the sort stated all the time by illegal Jewish settlers on the West Bank) be treated?