You are here

Queen Rania calls for Gaza ceasefire and enduring Palestinian solidarity at Web Summit Qatar

By JT - Feb 27,2024 - Last updated at Feb 27,2024

Her Majesty Queen Rania delivers keynote speech at the Web Summit Qatar conference, where she renews calls for an immediate end to the war on Gaza and the delivery of undisrupted relief aid into the strip

AMMAN — Her Majesty Queen Rania renewed calls for an immediate end to the war on Gaza, as well as an end to the obstruction of desperately-needed aid delivery.

“Why is the killing of some condemned, while the killing of others justified? Why is depriving one child of food a crime, but starving one million Gazan children an acceptable outcome of war?” Queen Rania asked.

Speaking in Doha at the first-ever Web Summit Qatar conference, Her Majesty highlighted the role that social media has played in allowing Palestinians to share their story with the world, calling on the millions who have amplified Palestinian voices online and offline to prevent Palestinian solidarity from becoming a passing trend,  according to a statement from Her Majesty’s office.

“The people of Gaza have never been more connected – yet never more isolated. Cut off from food, water, medicine, fuel, and everything required to sustain human life, they have continued to reach for their phones… to reach for us,” the Queen said.

In her keynote speech, Queen Rania explained that for decades, the Palestinian story has been obscured, allowing Palestinians to be dehumanized, discredited, and “turned into a people unto whom anything can be done, without consequence.”

This, she said, has resulted in “the bar for humanity” falling to new lows. “Actions that were once unthinkable are now commonplace: Hospitals under fire. Houses of worship destroyed. Civilians killed with white flags in hand. How can we possibly make sense of that?” she asked.

Her Majesty explained that denying one side of a conflict the right to tell its story has resulted in an incomplete narrative, noting that the Israeli account has historically overshadowed that of Palestinians, the statement said.

“Palestinians are reduced to antagonists in someone else’s story: They are cast as terrorists and security threats, nothing more,” she said.

“Their status as an occupied people is glossed over. Their diverse population of doctors, educators, and activists is disregarded. Their many attempts at non-violent resistance – from historic strikes and civil disobedience, to Gaza’s Great March of Return – have been crushed, even criminalized,” the Queen added.

However, Her Majesty noted that in the wake of the war on Gaza, Palestinians have gained increased visibility through social media, where “harrowing snapshots of life and death” have dominated many users’ feeds.

“Babies covered in searing burns; children with bloody bandages where limbs should be; mothers peeling back shrouds to kiss angelic faces goodbye… Scrolling through these images of a merciless war, I find myself thinking, ‘It can’t get any worse.’ And then, it does,” she said.

The Queen stated that although the October 7th attack opened a new chapter in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the larger story has been unfolding for 75 years, in which Palestinians have not known a day of genuine peace, according to the statement.

“Acts of war are not always as clear-cut as an airstrike, an ambush, or an abduction,” she remarked. “Sometimes, violence takes the shape of a crippling 17-year blockade, as decades of almost daily deaths, [… ] and the endless indignities of life under occupation.”

Queen Rania underlined that the war on Gaza, “livestreamed to the world,” has left many in the West with “an uneasy sense that the Palestinian issue isn’t as black-and-white as they had been led to believe.”

“This is, at once, a tragic and a transformational moment for the people of Palestine,” Her Majesty said, “Just as their lives are crumbling around them, people everywhere are connecting with them.”

The Queen cited unprecedented global mobilization in support of Palestine, noting that Jewish activists around the world have been “some of the loudest voices calling for a ceasefire.” She also highlighted the critical role that the people of Gaza have played in enabling people around the world relate to their plight.

“This new generation of citizen journalists is being credited with ‘humanizing’ the people of Gaza,” she said. “The tragedy is Palestinians have been human all along – it had just been simpler to believe otherwise.”  

Acknowledging the control that social media platforms now have on Palestinian visibility, Her Majesty noted that many Palestinians and their supporters believe that major platforms are limiting their reach, and restricting their content based on vague standards, the statement said.

“Online and offline, blurred standards have never worked for Palestinians’ advantage,” the Queen said. “Just look at global benchmarks of human rights, international law, universal values of equality and justice. Some of our most basic principles are being rewritten in real-time, to rationalize an irrational level of violence,” she added.

“Why must some fight tooth and nail for compassion, while others are given it freely? What does it matter if millions of people believe you have been wronged, if the injustice continues?” she asked.

Underscoring the need to achieve Palestinians’ right to “govern their own lives, in dignity and security” on the basis of the two-state solution, the Queen called on Palestinians’ global advocates to continue to amplify their voices, adding that public pressure has the power to rewrite the future.

“Make no mistake: There is nothing more powerful than an informed, indignant global community, calling for an end to a great injustice,” Queen Rania said. “Change is possible. Injustice is reversible. But the onus is on us.”

Web Summit Qatar is the inaugural Middle East event of the global Web Summit, which runs some of the largest technology events in the world.

Over the course of four days, the conference will bring together 1,000 startups from 80 countries, including Jordan, making it the largest and most globally diverse cohort of startups to ever gather in the region. Web Summit Qatar is expected to welcome more than 12,000 attendees from over 120 countries.

up
34 users have voted.


Newsletter

Get top stories and blog posts emailed to you each day.

PDF