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*Editor’s Note: This is the third installment in ‘Setting The Record Straight,’ the most recent series of articles from Jewish Press Online contributor, Alex Grobman, PhD 

“From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” is a mantra often heard on university campuses throughout the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe. It is a call for the total destruction of the Jewish state since the borders of Israel are between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.” [1]


Eliminating Israel is exactly what the Hamas Covenant 1988 proclaims in Article Eleven: “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. Neither a single Arab country nor all Arab countries, neither any king nor president, nor all the kings and presidents, neither any organization nor all of them, be they Palestinian or Arab, possess the right to do that. Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day. This being so, who could claim to have the right to represent Moslem generations till Judgement Day?” [2]

How will destroying Israel be achieved in order to establish an Islamic state? Only through a holy war. Article Thirteen of the Hamas Covenant explains why. “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights, and fate toyed with.” [3] Anyone daring to sign away even “a grain of sand in Palestine in favor of the enemies of God…who have seized the blessed land” should have their “hand be cut off.” [4]

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) is equally unequivocal about its determination to annihilate the Jewish state. Article Fifteen of The Palestinian National Charter: Resolutions of the Palestine National Council July 1-17, 1968 affirms: “The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national (qawmi) duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine. Absolute responsibility for this falls upon the Arab nation – peoples and governments – with the Arab people of Palestine in the vanguard. Accordingly, the Arab nation must mobilize all its military, human, moral, and spiritual capabilities to participate actively with the Palestinian people in the liberation of Palestine. It must, particularly in the phase of the armed Palestinian revolution, offer and furnish the Palestinian people with all possible help, and material and human support, and make available to them the means and opportunities that will enable them to continue to carry out their leading role in the armed revolution, until they liberate their homeland.” [5]

Destroying Israel has been a primary objective of the Palestinian Liberation Movement (PLO) from the outset. In a Radio PLO broadcast in Hebrew on October 31, 1967, Ahmad Al-Shuqayri, who founded the PLO in May 1964, announced “Filastin is the homeland of the Palestinian people.” They and the Arab nation will never relinquish their patrimony. “We will fight until Israel is destroyed …One hundred thousand Arabs surround you; they will not leave Israel alone and allow it [to] exist.” His urged the Jews to leave Israel to other countries where Jews live so they will enjoy peace, prosperity and stability. The Balfour Declaration precipitated the calamity and only Jewish emigration from Palestine will end the catastrophe [6]

What is Their Fundamental Objective?

The fundamental objective of the militant and violent Arabs is to destroy Western culture and civilization and replace it with their own “civilization of dhimmitude,” where non-Muslims will be forced to become a “protected” minority subordinating themselves to restrictive and degrading Islamic law to avoid death or enslavement. For 1,300 years, this jihad political force has subjugated and even eliminated major areas of Judeo-Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and other religious civilizations in Europe, Asia and Africa. Non-Muslims either converted, disappeared or were rendered incapable of further development. [7]

The goal of conquering the West is an avowed goal according then Hamas leader Khaled Mashal. In a February 3, 2006 speech from a Damascus mosque he declared: “By Allah, you will be defeated. You will be defeated in Palestine, and your defeat there has already begun. True, it is Israel that is being defeated there, but when Israel is defeated, its path is defeated, those who call to support it are defeated, and the cowards who hide behind it and support it are defeated. Israel will be defeated, and so will whoever supported or supports it… America will be defeated in Iraq. Wherever the [Islamic] nation is targeted, its enemies will be defeated, Allah willing. The nation of Muhammad is gaining victory in Palestine. The nation of Muhammad is gaining victory in Iraq, and it will be victorious in all Arab and Muslim lands.” [8]

Mashal’s declaration was notable for two reasons observed the Washington Institute for Near East Policy: “First, with unnerving clarity, Mashal redefined Hamas’s ambitions—from the goal of destroying Israel to the much broader goal of defeating the West. Second, in brazenly challenging the West, which previous Hamas leaders—for tactical reasons—avoided doing, Mashal revealed the growing confidence of Islamists in pursuing more ambitious and previously unmentionable goals. [9]

Ismail Haniya, current head of Hamas’s Political Bureau and a former Palestinian Arab prime minister, confirmed this goal when he said: “…the march of resistance will continue until the Islamic flag is raised, not only over the minarets of Jerusalem, but over the whole universe.” [10] In an editorial in the Palestinian Al-Quds newspaper, Israeli Arab Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi, said, “Palestine belongs to its Arab residents, not the Jewish occupiers.” Seven months earlier, he exhorted the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah to oppose the “occupation” until they reclaimed the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem. [11]

“Tibi has cozied up to anyone from Bashar Assad to Muammar al-Qaddafi,” noted Liel Leibovitz, an editor for Tablet Magazine. In 2012, the Knesset reprimanded him after he delivered a speech in Ramallah celebrating the International Day of Shaheeds, or martyrs. “The occupier wants to call you terrorists,” he said, “but we say there’s nothing more noble than dying for your homeland.” The Knesset’s Ethics Committee condemned Tibi, calling his speech “cheering on terrorism and violence.” [12]

In February 2020, after Israel Defense Forces killed three Palestinian Arab terrorists responsible for shooting attacks against Israeli soldiers and civilians over a period of several weeks, Joint Arab List MK Ahmad Tibi denounced the killing. “The government and the coalition, all its members, are responsible for this deterioration,” he said, and concluded with “May God have mercy on the martyrs.” [13]

The idea that hatred toward Israel and America are two distinct conflicts emboldens Israel’s enemies at the UN, EU, and International Criminal Court (ICC) with a large number of foreign governments, human rights organizations, academia, and a significant number of the media throughout the world. According to the latest edition of the Encyclopedia of Islam, the definition of jihad is: “In law, according to general doctrine and in historical tradition, the jihad consists of military action with the object of the expansion of Islam, and if need be, of its defense.” [14] The attacks against the US on September 11, 2001, were the latest manifestation of the Islamic jihad to establish universal world domination. “America blocks the final realization of this goal and hence is a natural target for aggression. In this sense, the House of Islam’s war for world mastery is a traditional, indeed venerable, quest that is far from over,” asserts historian Efraim Karsh. [15]


[1] Bassam Tawil, “The Real Meaning of ‘From The River To The Sea, Palestine Will Be Free,’” The Jewish Press (May 14, 2023); “Speakers At “Hands Off Al-Aqsa” Rally In NYC Praise Palestinian Terrorists, Chant: From The River To The Sea, Palestine Will Be Free!” MEMRI (April 8, 2023); “PA Ministry of Education to kids: There is no Israel, “the entire land is ours, from the Sea to the River,” Palestinian Media Watch (November 24, 2021); “Palestine belongs to the Palestinians” proclaims PA Prime Minister, denying Israeli rights to their land,” Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, official PA daily in Palestinian Media Watch (April 24, 2022).


[3] Ibid.

[4] Jacob Talmon, Israel Among The Nations (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1970), 172; Abd Al-Fattah Muhammad El-Awaisi, The Muslim Brothers and the Palestine Question 1928-1947 (New York: I.B. Tauris Academic Studies, 1998), 2,17,195; “Al-Aqsa preacher incites terror, uses Islam against Israel Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, official PA daily Palestinian Media Watch (November 19, 2022); “Al-Aqsa preacher calls for Ribat in the mosque,” Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, official PA daily Palestinian Media Watch (August 6, 2022). [5]; “PA to Israelis: “We are remaining here, go drink from the Sea,” Official Palestinian Authority TV Palestinian Media Watch (April 20, 2023); “Prisoner’s Club campaign features a map erasing Israel,” Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, official PA daily Palestinian Media Watch (April 16, 2023).

[6] Moshe Shemesh, “Did Shuqayri Call for ‘Throwing the Jews into the Sea,’” Israel Studies Volume 8 Number 2 (Summer 2003); Nan Jacques Zilberdik, “PA brags Fatah gave active support to Islamic Jihad in recent Gaza War,” Palestinian Media Watch (May 24, 2023).

[7] Bat Ye’or, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (Teaneck, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2005), 9; Bat Ye’or, Islam and Dhimmitude: Where Civilizations Collide (Teaneck, New Jersey: Farleigh Dickinson University Press, 2002); Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Islam in Modern History (New York: Mentor Books, 1957); Daniel Pipes, “Islam and Islamism-Faith and Ideology,” National Interest (Spring 2000).

[8] Yehudit Barsky, Hamas, op.cit. 1; Yehudit Barsky, The New Leadership of Hamas: A Profile of Khalid Al-Mish‘al (New York: American Jewish Committee, 2004):1; “Khaled Meshaal, Hamas political bureau chief, February 3, 2006,” Counter Extremism Project (February 3, 2006); Yehudit Barsky, Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine (New York: American Jewish Committee, 2002): 5, 7; Saskia Glas and Niles Spierings, “Connecting Contextual and Individual Drivers of Anti-Americanism in Arab Countries,” Sage Journals Volume 69 Issue 3 (May 26, 2020); Bernard Lewis, “The Roots of Muslim Rage,” The Atlantic (September 1990).

[9] “As Islamists Grow Confident, It’s Time for the West To Stand Firm,” The Washington Institute for Near East Policy (June 9, 2006).

[10] Barsky, “The New Leadership of Hamas,” op.cit. 2.

[11] “Arab MK: ‘Palestine Belongs to Arabs, Not Jews,” Israel National News (July 29, 2007); “Arab MK: Fight Israeli ‘occupation’,” JTA (July 29, 2007).

[12] Liel Leibovitz, “Don’t Cheer on the Joint List,” Tablet (September 23, 2019).

[13]Shahar Klaiman “Right fumes as Arab MK lauds Nablus terrorists as ‘martyrs,” Israel Hayom (February 9, 2022).

[14] Quoted in David Cook, Understanding Jihad (Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2005), 2; Bernard Lewis, Faith and Power: Religion and Politics in the Middle East (New York: Oxford University Press, 2010), 8-9; Mark Steyn, America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It (Washington, D.C. Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2006); Robert S. Wistrich, “Muslim Anti-Semitism: A Clear and Present Danger,” American Jewish Committee (2002); Robert S. Wistrich, A Lethal Obsession: Anti-Semitism from Antiquity to the Global Jihad (New York: Random House, 2010); for an analysis of the challenges Western Europe faces from Islam see, Daniel Pipes, “Europe’s Stark Options,” National Interest (March-April 2007).

[15] Efraim Karsh, “Islam’s World for World Mastery,” The New York Sun (May 18, 2007).


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Dr. Alex Grobman is the senior resident scholar at the John C. Danforth Society and a member of the Council of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. He has an MA and PhD in contemporary Jewish history from The Hebrew university of Jerusalem. He lives in Jerusalem.