From the River to the Sea – The Palestinian Narrative

When going into an Arab village in Judea and Samaria, you never know what to expect. Will someone you speak to have no problem with Jews or Israel supporters, or will they show animosity towards Israel and anyone who aligns with Israel? 

For example, I recently went into a music store in a local Arab village in Samaria. Since we obviously did not blend in with our surroundings, the owner asked what we were doing in “Palestine.” Not being sure if we heard him correctly, we asked, “Do you mean to ask what we are doing here in Israel?” He said, “No; Palestine, this is Palestine.” My brother-in-law who was with me decided to ask him if he considered just the “West Bank” as Palestine, or if he meant something more. He responded that everything from the river to the sea was Palestine, not just the “West Bank” (falsely so-called). 

The narrative that this Arab told us is is very significant when it comes to understanding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

When an Arab living under the Palestinian Authority says that he wants freedom, or that he wants the Israeli occupation to end, he is not referring to creating a Palestinian state that would function in peace alongside a Jewish nation. He has been brainwashed from a young age to believe the lie that the Arab Palestinian can only live in freedom once every Jew in Israel has been pushed into the sea.

For this reason, it is impossible for a western power to come into the Middle East and try to create a fantasy of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Every peace plan that has ever been presented begins with the idea that two people groups who are worlds apart in ideals and beliefs can simply come to the table, make land concessions, and then walk away happy with their prospective pieces of real estate. This western mentality simply will not work. 

In the past month, there have been multiple world leaders who have declared that the idea of a Palestinian state is not viable. While President Joe Biden still believes in the idea of a two-state solution, he said at his recent address to the United Nations that we are a long way away from that goal. Unlike previous presidents, his administration still has not given any hint that they are working on a peace plan for this tumultuous piece of real estate in the Middle East. They appear to have given up on a two-state solution (at least for now). 

Thankfully, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett seems to be firmly opposed to the idea of a Palestinian state. Regarding the issue, he recently said,“It would be a terrible mistake…I won’t do that.” Even though many have their doubts about Bennett’s change of politics since forming a government, at least we have his word to hold him to when it comes to the idea of a Palestinian state. 

Why would a Palestinian state be detrimental for both Israel and the Arabs who live in Judea and Samaria? We covered this issue in a lively video that we posted to The Israel Guys Youtube channel yesterday, which I encourage you to watch here. 

Do all Palestinians hate Israel and want to see them pushed into the sea? The answer is no, but unfortunately, they are in the minority. 

After releasing a video where we ventured into Nablus (biblical Shechem; check out the video here), a Palestinian Arab who resides in Nablus reached out to us. He identifies as pro-Israel – a courageous position – and one that is shared by very few others in his circles. He and the few others like him have had the courage to look past the propaganda and brainwashing that the Palestinian Authority constantly spews, and realize the actual reality of life in Israel’s heartland. 

When in Nablus, we found something else that was interesting. Many people had one answer when the camera was turned off and another when the camera was recording. Many were also skeptical about being on camera at all. Unfortunately, some of our best conversations with Arab Palestinians have been without cameras. More and more Arabs are realizing that their own government, the Palestinian Authority, is the actual problem when it comes to their livelihood and economy. 

When it came to Israel, we found that opinions ranged anywhere from one Arab man saying he would be fine living in the middle of an Israeli nation, as long as he had good opportunities for himself and his family, while others said that they believe Israel will one day disappear, or that they will be pushed into the sea. 

What is the solution to this age-old conflict? I’ll be honest in saying that I don’t have the perfect answer. A good start, however, would be to make a concerted effort to cut through the negative noise that is so prevalent in our world today and make the effort to find the real story. This is especially true when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian narrative. Unfortunately, our lives are filled on a daily basis with news and media that constantly portrays a negative, biased, and often false narrative when it comes to Israel. 

The Palestinian Arabs are taught from their youth to hate Israel. They are taught that they are oppressed. The Arabs that reject this narrative and see Israel in a positive light reject the push from the international community that paints Palestinians as the oppressed victim. The first change that the Palestinian Arabs need to make, however, is to stop seeing themselves as the victim. They need to stop believing the lie that Israel is the oppressor. 

The responsibility goes three ways. First, the Palestinian Arab should wake up, stop seeing himself as the victim and Israel as the oppressor, and reject their corrupt government. Secondly, the international community needs to stop propagating the lie and bias that they have spread for so many years regarding Israel and the Palestinians. Thirdly, courageous individuals have a responsibility to stop believing the lies, cut through the noise, and search for the truth. 

That’s why we exist here at The Israel Guys. Being on Israel’s front lines, we got tired of simply watching the international media run over the people we see and interact with on a daily basis. 

Our mission is to cut through the fake news and tell the true and authentic stories of Israel. 

What about you? Are you ready to find the truth?

About the author

Luke Hilton is the Director of Marketing for HaYovel, an organization that brings Christians to Judea and Samaria, the Biblical Heartland of Israel, to serve the land and people in volunteer service. Luke has been speaking about Israel since 2011, and has traveled extensively in the United States, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia speaking about Israel. He currently co-hosts The Israel Guys Youtube channel and podcast. Luke is based in Israel with his lovely wife Olivia and their five beautiful children.

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