Jordan’s queen downplays role of Oct. 7 as cause of the war in Gaza

Rania Al Abdullah said that linking the war to the Hamas attack reflects an ‘incomplete narrative’ of the longer-term Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Queen Rania of Jordan poses for the photographers before a lunch at the Royal Palace.

In remarks at the Web Summit Qatar in Doha, Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan downplayed the role of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel as the cause of the current war in Gaza, arguing that this reflects an “incomplete narrative” of the longer-term Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The fact is, when one side of a conflict has been robbed of the right to tell its story, we’re left with an incomplete narrative,” Abdullah said in her speech. “The current iteration opens like this: ‘The war began on Oct. 7.’ To be sure, the brutal Oct. 7 attack opened a new and devastating chapter in the saga. But the larger story has been unfolding for more than most of our lives — 75 years in which Palestinians have not known a single day of genuine peace.”

She offered condemnation for the Hamas attack, but also said it does not justify the current war in Gaza. She alleged that Palestinians have, over decades and in the current war, been systematically dehumanized and ignored, “relegated to a footnote in the narrative authored by someone else” and “cast as terrorists and security threats, nothing more.”

“Acts of war are not always as clear-cut as an airstrike, an ambush or an abduction,” she said, describing the blockade of Gaza, checkpoints, separation walls, settler violence, detentions without criminal charges and “the endless indignities of life under occupation” as all forms of “violence.”

“One can acknowledge that, for many, Israel’s founding countered a historical injustice, while recognizing that it created another that has yet to be resolved,” she added.

Abdullah called for an immediate cease-fire, an end to “the inhumane obstruction of aid delivery” and the release of “the hostages and detainees on both sides,” as well as a Palestinian state “living side by side in peace with Israel.”

In Israel’s operations in Gaza, the queen argued, “the bar for humanity keeps falling to new lows — actions that were once unthinkable are now commonplace.”

“Just look at global benchmarks of human rights, international law, universal values of equality and justice,” she continued. “Some of our most basic principles are being rewritten in real time to rationalize an irrational level of violence.”

The queen’s speech at the technology-focused conference centered on the role that social media has played in granting increased visibility to the impacts of the current war on Palestinians in Gaza, and for those abroad advocating for Palestinians.

Abdullah referenced claims by pro-Palestinian activists that they are being censored or suppressed by major technology platforms. Pro-Israel advocates have voiced similar concerns.

“It is hard for users to trust platforms that control their content from the shadows based on vague standards,” she said.

She also spoke about “digital echo chambers,” which she said lead both sides to “instinctively [center] the suffering of their own people and [minimize] the other.”

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