Letter: To find out what ‘from the river to the sea’ means, it’s essential to ask those who use the phrase

What does “from the river to the sea” mean?

Two interviewees on KUER gave radically different interpretations. The first interviewee said he was referring to a liberation of the Palestinians wherever they lived, a liberation not unlike the American Revolution. The second interviewee claimed it calls for the forced expulsion of Jews from the region and perceived it to be a threat. The first speaker, however, said it means equality for all in historical Palestine, regardless of ethnicity.

To solve this puzzle, let us consult those uttering the phrase. What is the “river” and “sea”? These folks say it refers to where Palestinians are living under various degrees of oppression.

Two million with Israeli citizenship live in cities along the Mediterranean coast such as Haifa and Jaffa. By law they are second-class citizens, their lives restricted in ways unlike Jewish citizens. Of course, there is Gaza and the squalid refugee camps of Lebanon by the “sea.”

The “river” refers to the heavily militarized Jordan River Valley and occupied communities such as Jericho. The phrase encompasses all Palestinians living in their native land: the 3.5 million in the West Bank, the 2.3 million in Gaza, and the 5.3 million often stateless residents of the refugee camps along the border. It calls for an end to occupation and oppression.

They reject expulsion of Jews or anyone since forced expulsion is the root cause of the 75-year-old conflict. They do demand the right of return, however. The Chabad house rabbi claims the phrase is an attack on Jews. Those speaking the phrase say it is not.

Falsely claiming someone is saying something is “defamation,” which is illegal. It is wise to consult the actual speakers before attributing a statement to them. Otherwise, one may end up in court.

Mary Miller, Bountiful

Submit a letter to the editor