Queen Rania of Jordan has accused Western countries of “aiding and abetting” the killing of Palestinians by supporting Israel’s war against Hamas, in an extraordinary intervention that could signal an escalation of of tensions across the Arab world.
Rania, who was born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents and grew up in the West Bank, accused Israel of being an ‘apartheid regime’, claiming the conflict began ‘before’ Hamas killed 1,400 Israelis on October 7.
“The people all around the Middle East, including in Jordan, we are just shocked and disappointed by the world’s reaction to this catastrophe that is unfolding,” she told CNN.
“In the last couple of weeks, we have seen a glaring double standard in the world.”
Jordan remains an ally of Britain and the US, and is seen as a stable partner in a region often marred in violence and unrest. But Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and President Joe Biden’s support of Israel is testing relationships with allies across the Middle East.
“When October 7 happened, the world immediately and unequivocally stood by Israel and its right to defend itself and condemned the attack that happened … but what we’re seeing in the last couple of weeks, we’re seeing silence in the world.
“Many in the Arab world are looking at the Western world as not just tolerating this…but aiding and abetting it,” the monarch added.
Meanwhile, King Abdullah of Jordan warned against any efforts to force refugees from Gaza towards Jordan or Egypt, calling the further relocation of Palestinians to other countries a “red line” that would not be tolerated.
Queen Rania’s comments came as Israel and Hamas continued bombing each other, with airstrikes in Gaza killing more than 750 people between Tuesday and Wednesday, according to the territory’s health ministry.
The Israeli military said its strikes had killed militants and destroyed tunnels, command centers, weapons storehouses and other military targets, which it has accused Hamas of hiding among Gaza’s civilian population.
Gaza-based militants have also been launching unrelenting rocket barrages into Israel since the conflict started.
The death toll, following a reported 704 killed the day before, was unprecedented in the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Even greater loss of life could come when Israel launches an expected ground offensive aimed at crushing Hamas militants.
The UN says about 1.4 million of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are now internally displaced, with almost 600,000 crowded into UN shelters.
Gaza’s residents have been running out of food, water and medicine since Israel sealed off the territory following the attack on southern Israel by Hamas, which is sworn to Israel’s destruction.
In recent days, Israel allowed a small number of trucks filled with aid to come over the border with Egypt but barred deliveries of fuel — needed to power hospital generators — to keep it out of Hamas’ hands.
The UN said it had managed to deliver some of the aid in recent days to hospitals treating the wounded. But the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, the largest provider of humanitarian services in Gaza, said it was running out of fuel.