AMMAN — Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan has called for a ceasefire in Israel’s war against Hamas, saying that supporting the protection of Palestinian lives does not equal being antisemitic or pro-terrorism.
“Let me be very, very clear. Being pro-Palestinian is not being antisemitic, being pro-Palestinian does not mean you’re pro-Hamas or pro-terrorism,” Rania told CNN’s Becky Anderson on Sunday.
“What we’ve seen in recent years is the charge of antisemitism being weaponized in order to silence any criticism of Israel,” she said.
“I want to absolutely and wholeheartedly condemn antisemitism and Islamophobia…but I also want to remind everyone that Israel does not represent all the Jewish people around the world. Israel is a state and is alone is responsible for its own crimes.”
Israel declared a “complete siege” on Gaza following the October 7 attacks by Palestinian militant group Hamas, which controls the coastal enclave.
Hamas killed more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and took about 240 hostages, according to the Israel Defense Forces’ (IDF) count.
The Israeli siege and accompanying bombing campaign has seen Gaza pounded with relentless airstrikes, and a blockade of vital supplies to 2.2 million people living in the isolated strip. As of Sunday, more than 9,700 people had been killed in Israeli strikes, according to the Palestinian Minister of Health in Ramallah, using figures that are drawn from sources in the Hamas-controlled enclave.
At a summit on Saturday, attended by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Arab leaders called for an immediate ceasefire, while Blinken repeated the US position that a ceasefire would give Hamas time to regroup for another attack on Israel.
The US is calling for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting for aid to be delivered, but Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said Sunday that no pause was needed because “there’s no humanitarian crisis.”
Queen Rania told CNN claims that a ceasefire will enable more Hamas attacks is “endorsing and justifying” the death of civilians.
“I know that some who are against the ceasefire argue that it will help Hamas. However, I feel that in that argument, they are inherently dismissing the death, in fact, even endorsing and justifying the death of thousands of civilians, and that is just morally reprehensible,” she said.
Israel has repeatedly urged Palestinian civilians to move south of Wadi Gaza, the waterway that delineates north and south, as it intensifies its air and ground assaults across the strip.
Israel’s ambassador to the United States Michael Herzog told CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday that Israel is “making every effort” to get the civilian population in Gaza “out of harm’s way.”
He added, “Hamas is doing everything they can to keep them in harm’s way.”
But Rania said Israel’s claim of trying to protect civilians is “an insult to one’s intelligence.”
“When 1.1 million people are asked to leave their homes or risk death, that is not a protection of civilians, that is forced displacement,” she said.
Rania said she didn’t believe Israel’s evacuation orders were for the benefit of Gaza, but rather an attempt to “legitimize their actions.”
Last week, US President Joe Biden expressed skepticism over the death figures provided by the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry.
Asked about that stance, Rania said it was standard “Israeli propaganda.”
“Trying to minimize the horrific consequences of their actions, trying to dehumanize Palestinians further and desensitize people to their suffering…they’re trying to exonerate themselves and they’re trying to exonerate the viewer,” she said.
More than two million Palestinian refugees live in Jordan according to the UN agency UNRWA.
Jordan air-dropped a medical aid package to a Jordanian field hospital in Gaza on Sunday, King Abdullah II said on social media, and last week the country recalled its ambassador to Israel, citing the war.
Queen Rania questioned how many more people must die before “our global conscience awakes.”
“All they want to hear is apologies from Palestinians. You’re being bombed, that’s your fault,” she said. “You’re being starved, that’s your fault. You dare be born in the occupied territories, that’s your fault… It’s been unbearable to watch the avalanche of human suffering.” — CNN