CAIRO: Queen Rania of Jordan on Sunday urged a collective call for a ceasefire in Gaza and said those who are opposed a truce were “endorsing and justifying the death of thousands of civilians.”
In an in-depth interview with CNN's Becky Anderson, Queen Rania responded to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken's rejection of a ceasefire while in Amman.
After meeting Arab leaders on Saturday, Blinken said a ceasefire in Gaza would only enable more Hamas attacks.
Queen Rania said: “There has to be a collective call for a ceasefire and I know some who are against a ceasefire argue that it will help Hamas. However, in that argument they are inherently dismissing the death, and in fact endorsing and justifying the death of thousands of civilians. That is just morally reprehensible, short-sighted and not entirely rational.”
“If [Israel] manage to eliminate all of Hamas, the root cause of this conflict is its illegal occupation, routine human rights abuses, illegal settlements, disregard to UN resolutions and international law. If we do not address the root causes, you can kill the combatant but you cannot kill the cause.”
Queen Rania denounced the “catastrophic humanitarian situation" in Gaza, and asked: “How many more people have to die before our global conscience awakes? Or is it forever dormant when it comes to the Palestinians?”
She noted that there had been nearly 10,000 deaths in Gaza since the war began, almost half of them children.
“These are not just numbers. Each one of these children was somebody’s everything,” she said.
“There’s an acronym in Gaza, W.C.N.S.F.: Wounded Child with No Surviving Family,” she added. “That’s an acronym that should never exist, but it does exist in Gaza.”
When asked about Israel’s claims that civilians were being used as human shields, Queen Rania stressed that while the use of human shields was “criminal,” under international law, Israel had a responsibility to avoid civilian deaths.
“Before firing any bullet, before dropping any bomb, it is the responsibility of the nation to weigh the risk to civilian life. And if that risk is disproportionate to the military target, then it is deemed unlawful,” Her Majesty said.
Although many of Israel’s evacuation orders are issued online or on television, Her Majesty said she does not believe that these orders are for the benefit of the Gaza civilians, given the fact that electricity in the Gaza Strip has been cut off for weeks.
“They are not the target audience; the rest of the world is. It is Israel's attempt to try to legitimize their actions,” she said.
“When 1.1 million people are asked to leave their homes or risk death, that is not protection of civilians. That is forced displacement,” she said.
“UN agencies and other agencies have said that there is no safe place in Gaza. And even the areas that they have asked people to seek refuge in – those so-called ‘safe zones’ – they have been attacked as well.”
In response to a question on rising bigotry in the United States against both Jewish and Muslim people, Her Majesty “absolutely and wholeheartedly” condemned both antisemitism and Islamophobia, adding that Muslims should be the first to condemn antisemitism as Islamophobia is “the other side of the same disease.”
“We have had a long history of peaceful coexistence. So this is not about religion. It is about politics,” she said.