If one were to argue that a top Spanish government official would someday declare that
“from the river to the sea, Palestine would be free”, the suggestion itself would have
seemed ludicrous.
But this is precisely how Yolanda Diaz, Spain's Deputy Prime Minister, concluded a
statement on May 23, a few days before Spain officially recognized Palestine as a state.
The Spanish recognition of Palestine, along with the Norwegian and Irish recognition, is
most important.
Western Europe is finally catching up with the rest of the world regarding the
significance of a strong international position in support of the Palestinian people and in
rejection of Israel’s genocidal practices in occupied Palestine.
But equally important is the changing political discourse regarding both Palestine and
Israel in Europe and all over the world.
Almost immediately after the start of the Israeli war on Gaza, some European countries
imposed restrictions on pro-Palestinian protests, some even banning the Palestinian flag,
which was perceived, through some twisted logic, as an antisemitic symbol.
With time, the unprecedented solidarity with Israel at the start of the war, however, turned
into an outright political, legal and moral liability to the pro-Israel western governments.
Thus, a slow shift began, leading to a near-complete transformation in the position of
some governments, and a partial though clear shift of the political discourse among
The early ban on pro-Palestinian protests was impossible to maintain in the face of
millions of angry European citizens who called on their governments to end their blind
support for Tel Aviv.
On May 30, the mere fact that French private broadcaster TF1 hosted Israeli Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led to large, though spontaneous, protests by French
citizens, who called on their media to deny accused war criminals the chance to address
the public.
Failing to push back against the pro-Palestine narrative, the French government has, on
May 31, decided to disinvite Israeli military firms from participating in one of the world’s
largest military expos, Eurosatory, scheduled for June 17-21.


Even countries like Canada and Germany, which supported the Israeli genocide against
Palestinians until later stages of the mass killings, began changing their language as well.
The change of language is also happening in Israel itself and among pro-Israeli
intellectuals and journalists in mainstream media. In a widely read column, New York
Times writer Thomas Friedman attacked Netanyahu late last March, accusing him of
being the “worst leader in Jewish history, not just in Israeli history”.
Unpacking Friedman’s statement requires another column, for such language continues to
feed on the persisting illusion, at least in the mind of Friedman, that Israel serves as a
representation, not of its own citizens, but of Jewish people, past and present.
As for the language in Israel, it is coalescing into two major and competing discourses:
one irrationally ruthless, represented by far-right Ministers Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel
Smotrich, in fact, by Netanyahu himself; and another, though equally militant and anti-
Palestinian, which is more pragmatic.
While the first group would like to see Palestinians slaughtered in large numbers or
wiped out through a nuclear bomb, the other realizes that a military option, at least for
now, is no longer viable.
“The Israeli army does not have the ability to win this war against Hamas, and certainly
not against Hezbollah,” Israeli Army Reserve Major General Yitzhak Brik said in an
interview with the Israeli newspaper Maariv on May 30.
Brik, one of Israel’s most respected military men, is but one of many such individuals
who are now essentially repeating the same wisdom.
Strangely, when Israel’s Minister of Heritage Amihai Eliyahu suggested the “option” of
dropping a nuclear bomb on the Strip, his words reeked of desperation, not confidence.
Prior to the war, the Israeli political discourse regarding Gaza revolved around a specific
set of terminology: ‘deterrence’, represented in the occasional one-sided war, often
referred to as ‘mowing the lawn’ and ‘security’, among others.
Billions of dollars have been generated throughout the years by war profiteers in Israel,
the US and other European countries, all in the name of keeping Gaza besieged and
Now, this language has been relegated in favor of a grand discourse concerned with
existential wars, the future of the Jewish people, and the possible end of Israel if not
Zionism itself.
While it is true that Netanyahu fears an end to the war will be a terrible conclusion to his
supposedly triumphant legacy as the ‘protector’ of Israel, there is more to the story.


If the war ends without Israel restoring its so-called deterrence and security, it will be
forced to contend with the fact that the Palestinian people cannot be relegated and that
their rights cannot be overlooked. For Israel, such a realization would be an end to its
settler-colonial project, which began nearly a hundred years ago.
Additionally, the perception and language pertaining to Palestine and Israel are changing
among ordinary people across the world. The misconception of the Palestinian ‘terrorist’
is being quickly replaced by the true depiction of the Israeli war criminal, a
categorization that is now consistent with the views of the world’s largest international
legal institutions.
Israel now stands in near-complete isolation, due, in part, to its genocide in Gaza but also
to the courage and steadfastness of the Palestinian people, and to the global solidarity
with the Palestinian cause.
- Dr. Ramzy Baroud is a journalist, author and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He
is the author of six books. His latest book, co-edited with Ilan Pappé, is ‘Our Vision for
Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out’. His other books
include ‘My Father was a Freedom Fighter’ and ‘The Last Earth’. Baroud is a Non-
resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA). His
website is