From the Sea to the River, Israel is Forever!

Posted by Olivier Melnick on May 13, 2024

Since October 7, the motto "From the River to the Sea Palestine Shall be Free" has been heard on US university campuses, the streets of America and beyond, and all over the internet. Most people think that this is a call for justice in "Palestine." Our younger generation thinks that chanting that motto is a great move for social justice. To be fair, there are quite a few of our young people chanting, who could not identify which river or which sea, not to mention trying to locate Israel on a world map. But let's focus on those who know exactly what they are saying.

The statement describes the land mass between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, which can only describe Israel. So, for Palestine to be free, Israel has to be gone...No more Jews. There is no other way to understand that statement. This is not an invitation to a two-state solution or anything else. It is a cry for the annihilation of Israel, period. In other words, this is a euphemism for genocide!

Most people today have the wrong understanding of the terms Israel and Palestine, and this leads to much confusion and allegiance to the wrong group of people based on a false narrative. The first thing to understand is that biblically speaking, Israel can mean the Jewish people or the Land of Israel. When referring to the geographical boundaries of a piece of land given by God to Abraham and his descendants, it is called by many names, including “Israel,” “Land of Promise,” "The Land," “Canaan,” “the United Kingdom,” and “the Divided Kingdom.”

The same Abrahamic Covenant from which we draw the definition of a Jew also tells us that God has promised land to the Jewish people with some very detailed boundaries. In Genesis 12:7, God is brief and to the point: "The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your descendants, I will give this land.” He repeats that promise in Genesis 13:15 and gives the details in Genesis 15:18-21: "On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.”

Since the Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional AND eternal, that promise remains intact. Following the biblical boundaries of Genesis 15, it is clear that Israel’s biblical makeup has yet to be fulfilled. The current borders based on 1948, 1967, or any other “agreements” come nowhere near God’s promised real estate boundaries found in the Bible. Based on these biblical facts, I disagree with the term “Occupied Territories” and prefer to call them the “Disputed Territories.” Israel today is about the size of New Jersey, and when its full borders are fulfilled in the Messianic kingdom, it will be as large as twice the state of Texas, and you are not an "occupier" or "colonizer" if the land was given to you in the first place.

Biblically speaking, Israel is also the name given to Jacob after he wrestled with the Angel of the Lord at Bethel; and, incidentally, this passage in Genesis 35:9-12, is another place where God re-confirms His promise of a Jewish people and their own land: "Then God appeared to Jacob again when he came from Paddan-aram, and He blessed him. God said to him, “Your name is Jacob; You shall no longer be called Jacob, But Israel shall be your name.” Thus He called him Israel. God also said to him, “I am God Almighty; Be fruitful and multiply; A nation and a company of nations shall come from you, And kings shall come forth from you. “The land which I gave to Abraham and Isaac, I will give it to you, And I will give the land to your descendants after you." (The same promise is also reflected in Genesis 32:28, 1 Kings 18:31 and 2 Kings 17:34.)

Since its modern rebirth as a State, Israel as a piece of land has become a bone of contention for the whole world. The modern Palestinian people, in particular, claim historical ownership of that land, reaching back before the Jewish people. It is currently claimed that the Palestinian people ARE an ethnic group, something that is no longer disputed by the vast majority of the world, but is it true? Is it based on facts or fiction? Further investigation is needed to establish the meaning of the word “Palestine” and to assess the validity of such a claim.

To better understand the true meaning of Palestine, we must go back in history quite a bit earlier than the mid-1960s. While the exact origin of the name Palestine is still debated, there are aspects of the word’s meaning that we can surely know. It possibly once described a people group known as the Philistines, but that people group was in no way connected to the current era Palestinians – not ethnically, not linguistically, not historically, and not culturally. In A.D. 132, a Jewish revolt took place against the Romans. It was known as the Bar Kochba revolt (Bar Kochba was a false messiah in Israel at the time ). Things didn't end well for the Jewish people, and in addition to a bloodbath of gigantic proportions, Israel was renamed Palaestina by the Romans. The rebranding of the Land with the name of their enemies, the Philistines, was an effort to undermine Jewish history and humiliate the Jewish people further. Additionally, at the time, Jerusalem was also renamed Aelia Capitolina by Emperor Hadrian. The name Palestine stuck and continued to be used after that time. It is nowhere in the Bible except for the maps section at the end of each Bible, but, of course, these are not inspired.

When the British were in control from 1922 to 1948, the area was governed under what was known as the British Mandate Palestine. In the original text of the Mandate itself, dated 1922, we can read: "Whereas recognition has thereby been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country."

Let's look at article 4 of that Mandate. We also find two words in the same passage that any modern-day Palestinian would be hard-pressed to associate in a positive light: Palestinian and Zionist. Yet, in the context of the original Mandate, it was to the current leaders of the Zionist movement that the administration and government of Palestine were entrusted, as we can read: "An appropriate Jewish agency shall be recognized as a public body for the purpose of advising and co­operating with the Administration of Palestine in such economic, social and other matters as may affect the establishment of the Jewish national home and the interests of the Jewish population in Palestine, and, subject always to the control of the Administration to assist and take part in the development of the country. The Zionist organization, so long as its organization and constitution are in the opinion of the Mandatory appropriate, shall be recognized as such agency. It shall take steps in consultation with His Britannic Majesty’s Government to secure the co­operation of all Jews who are willing to assist in the establishment of the Jewish national home."

So, until the early 1960s, Palestine was always synonymous with Israel, the Jewish State. Arabs in neighboring countries never called themselves Palestinians but rather Syrians, Lebanese, Jordanians, Egyptians, etc. Most Arabs in the early 1900s would have argued that Palestinian Arabs were simply Syrians, as Mitchell Bard documents in his well-researched book Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict. He writes: "Prior to partition, Palestinian Arabs did not view themselves as having a separate identity. When the First Congress of Muslim-Christian Associations met in Jerusalem in February 1919 to choose Palestinian representatives for the Paris Peace Conference, the following resolution was adopted: We consider Palestine as part of Arab Syria, as it has never been separated from it at any time. We are connected with it by national, religious, linguistic, natural, economic and geographical bonds."

While God uses different names for the Land of Israel, it is never called Palestine even once. In fact, even the Qur’an (Sura Maida 5:21-22) mentions the “Holy Land” in the context of Moses and the spies preparing to enter the Land of Canaan; but never does it call it Palestine. Jerusalem isn’t even mentioned by name in the Qur’an.

Today, nobody questions the etymology of the word "Palestine," and that is a shame. What is really sad is that the Arab refugees who were forced by their own countries to remain in Israel post-1948 ended up having children who then had children. These innocent subsequent generations have been labeled Palestinians for political gain. They are real people who deserve a real home and a decent life. Backtracking to pre-1948 "Palestine" would connect them all with one or another of the neighboring Arab countries, but that doesn't serve the world's current agenda of Israeli occupation, colonization and ethnic cleansing, does it?

From God's perspective, Israel is eternal and given to the Jewish people by divine decree. This never implies that "Palestinians" are lesser people, but simply that they are not the natives of that land. So, to be fair, instead of chanting, "From the River to the Sea, Palestine shall be free," we ought to affirm, "From the Sea to the River, Israel is FOREVER!"

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Comments ...

2 comments on “From the Sea to the River, Israel is Forever!”

  1. Learned so much from this reading. Please continue this topic. I feel there are so many ppl that don't have a clue of what is going on.

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