Queen Rania of Jordan has accused Western leaders of a “blatant double standard” for failing to condemn the deaths of civilians under Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip, as Israel’s war against Hamas threatens to destabilize relations between US and Arab leaders .
In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Rania said: “People across the Middle East, including Jordan, we are just shocked and disappointed by the world’s response to this catastrophe that is unfolding.” In the last few weeks we have “We have seen a blatant double standard in the world.”
“When October 7th happened, the world immediately and unequivocally stood behind Israel and its right to defend itself and condemned the attack that took place… but what we are seeing in the last few weeks is silence in the world,” she said CNN.
Israel declared a “full siege” of the Gaza Strip following the October 7 terrorist attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls the coastal enclave, in which more than 1,400 people were killed and over 200 taken hostage, according to the Israeli Defense Forces. The siege led to relentless airstrikes on the densely populated Gaza Strip and a blockade of vital supplies – including food and water – for the entire population of the isolated strip.
“This is the first time in modern history that there is so much human suffering and the world is not even calling for a ceasefire,” Queen Rania added. “So the silence is deafening – and for many in our region, it makes the Western world complicit.”
“Are we being told that it is wrong to kill a family, an entire family, at gunpoint, but it is OK to shoot them to death? I mean, there’s a blatant double standard here,” she said. “It’s just shocking for the Arab world.”
Latest figures from the Hamas-controlled Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza put the death toll from Israeli attacks at more than 5,000, including more than 2,000 children. At least 35 UN staff were also killed.
Israel says it is targeting Hamas terrorists and accuses the group of hiding behind civilian infrastructure.
The United Nations and several aid organizations are urgently calling for a ceasefire and the free flow of humanitarian aid to the increasingly desperate population. Doctors working in the isolated enclave, meanwhile, warn that power outages threaten the lives of their most vulnerable patients, including seriously injured and premature babies in need of incubators.
“As a mother, we have seen Palestinian mothers having to write their children’s names on their hands – because the chances of them being killed by shells and turning their bodies into corpses are so high,” Rania said. “I just want to remind the world that Palestinian mothers love their children just as much as any other mother in the world.”
Arab leaders have expressed frustration at the U.S.’s apparent unwillingness to ease the siege on Israel; Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority withdrew from a planned summit with US President Joe Biden in Jordan last week.
Washington, a close ally of Israel, continues to steadfastly support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government’s retaliation against Gaza and rejects calls for a ceasefire.
“We’re not talking about a ceasefire right now,” John Kirby, strategic communications coordinator on the White House National Security Council, told CNN on Monday.
“In fact, we do not believe this is the time for a ceasefire. Israel has the right to defend itself. They still have a lot of work to do to take over the leadership of Hamas. We will continue to support them or provide them with more security assistance.”
In his speech to the UN Security Council on Tuesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and said that “humanitarian pauses” should be considered, but notably avoided the phrase “ceasefire”.
However, the US last week vetoed a Security Council proposal for a humanitarian pause amid the bloodshed, criticizing the draft resolution for failing to mention Israel’s right to self-defense. The United Kingdom also refused to agree to the resolution.
An earlier Russian ceasefire also failed.
Israel is committing “crimes against humanity” in its current campaign, nine independent experts working with the United Nations said in a joint statement on Thursday. The “unspeakably cruel” blockade of the Gaza Strip coupled with “forcible population relocations” violates international and criminal law, the experts added.
Former Israeli hostage negotiator Gershon Baskin, meanwhile, warned that the crisis should be a “wake-up call” for both Israelis and Palestinians and called for a change in leadership on both sides.
Baskin, an Israeli citizen, played a key role in the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured and imprisoned by Hamas from 2006 to 2011. Baskin is the author of “The Negotiator: Freeing Gilad Shalit from Hamas,” and he is now in unofficial contact with the Israeli and Hamas leadership.
“It shouldn’t surprise anyone that we’ve ended up in such a terrible situation,” he told Amanpour in a separate interview on Tuesday. “It must be a wake-up call for Israel that you cannot employ another people for 56 years and hope for peace. You cannot lock two million people in an open-air prison and expect peace to reign there.”
“And for Palestinians it should be a wake-up call that this is what they will suffer if they support radical fanatical leaders and refuse to recognize the other people living in your country that they have the same rights as you. “he added from Jerusalem.
“[These are] the most traumatic events for Israel and Palestine since 1948.”
A growing crisis and fears of displacement
Fears are growing that the conflict could spill over into neighboring countries in the Middle East, as Israel urges civilians in the northern part of the Gaza Strip to relocate south ahead of an expected ground operation.
Forcing Gaza civilians to relocate would amount to “the war crime of forced displacement,” the Norwegian Refugee Council said.
And Jordanian and Egyptian leaders have expressed concerns that millions of Palestinians could eventually be driven from Gaza and the occupied West Bank to Egypt and Jordan, respectively, saying such a move could plunge the region into war.
Jordan’s King Abdullah warned last week that expelling Palestinians to Jordan and Egypt was a “red line” and said neither Jordan nor Egypt would accept refugees from Gaza. He said any proposal by the two countries to take in fleeing Gazans was a plan by “the usual suspects to try to create de facto problems on the ground,” suggesting that the refugees may not be allowed into theirs Homes to return.
When asked by Amanpour about her husband’s position, Queen Rania said the people of Gaza were faced with “two choices.”
“Essentially they have a choice between expulsion or extermination, between ethnic cleansing and genocide. And it should not be given to any people, [should] I have to face such a choice. The Palestinian people should not [the people] “Gaza residents should not be forced to be relocated again,” she said.
More than half of Gaza’s population are refugees whose ancestors fled or were driven from their homes in what is now Israel by armed Jewish groups during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, which Palestinians call the Nakba, or “catastrophe.” Israel never allowed them to return to their homes and many have lived in poverty ever since.
The queen also stressed that the conflict in the Middle East did not begin on October 7, when Hamas attacked Israel, citing the history of Israeli occupation and the displacement of Palestinians.
“Most networks cover the story under the title ‘Israel at war.’ But for many Palestinians on the other side of the separation barrier, on the other side of the barbed wire, the war has never stopped,” she said.
“This is a 75-year-old story, a story of overwhelming death and displacement for the Palestinian people. It is the story of an occupation under the apartheid regime that occupied land, destroyed houses, confiscated land, military incursions and night raids.”
Even before the war with Hamas, tensions between Palestinians and Israelis in the occupied West Bank were high. After a wave of Palestinian attacks on Israelis last year, Israel launched regular incursions and raids in the occupied West Bank, targeting what it said were militant strongholds. The resulting violence resulted in record numbers of Palestinians and Israelis dead, a figure not seen in at least a decade.
Since Israel took control from Jordan and occupied the West Bank in 1967 after the Six-Day War, large swathes of territory that residents hope will be part of a future Palestinian state have been populated by Israeli civilians, often under military protection.
Most of the world considers these settlements illegal under international law.
In parts of the Arab world in recent days, protesters have flooded the streets to show support for Palestinians facing Israeli siege and bombardment. About 6,000 demonstrators marched in Amman on Friday in support of Palestinians.
A two-state solution to establish a “free, sovereign and independent” Palestine is the only path to peace in the region, Rania told CNN.
“There can never be a solution except at a negotiating table… There is only one way to get there, and that is a free, sovereign and independent Palestinian state, living in peace and security side by side with the State of Israel.”
Source : www.cnn.com