The comments made by Professor Hill may not have been malicious in intent, but they were problematic. Calling for a “Free Palestine from the river to the sea” is something that is often the wartime rallying cry as countries or terrorist organizations threaten to “wipe Israel off the map.” He later clarified and said, “My reference to ‘river to the sea’ was not a call to destroy anything or anyone…It was a call for justice, both in Israel and in the West Bank/Gaza. The speech very clearly and specifically said those things. No amount of debate will change what I actually said or what I meant.” While this is more radical than an aspiring neutral source such as CNN would likely prefer, I actually have more of a problem with his support for the full right of return in conjunction with this comment.
I, along with the great majority of the international community, still believe the most just solution for this conflict is a two-state solution. These comments are not consistent with this. There can be a full right of return for the Palestinian refugees, but to a future Palestinian state, not to Israel.
On its face, supporting the full right of return for the Palestinian refugees to their original homes seems like a perfectly just cause. However, the return of the refugees, now numbering in the millions (because UNRWA has uniquely assigned refugee status to descendants of refugees), would mean an end to the Jewish Majority, and thus Jewish self-determination in Israel. The point of the two-state solution is to have two states for two peoples, each with its own right to self-determination. Thus, he is either ignorant for not fully understanding the consequences; deceitful in not acknowledging and hiding the consequences; or anti-Semitic in wanting the consequences.