Jordanian King Abdullah II on Saturday said the relentless bombing campaign underway in Gaza is cruel and unconscionable on every level, describing it as collective punishment of a besieged and helpless population.
“It is a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law. It is a war crime,” he said while addressing the 2023 Cairo Peace Summit.
“Anywhere else, attacking civilian infrastructure and deliberately starving an entire population of food, water, electricity, and basic necessities would be condemned,” King Abullah noted.
He highlighted that the message the Arab world is hearing is loud and clear: Palestinian lives matter less than Israeli ones. “The application of international law is optional. And human rights have boundaries they stop at borders, they stop at races, they stop at religions,” the King added.
King Abullah warned that the consequences of continued international apathy and inaction will be catastrophic “on us all”.
He reiterated his call for an immediate end to the war on Gaza, the protection of civilians, and the adoption of a unified position that indiscriminately condemns the targeting of all civilians, “in line with our shared values and international law, which loses all value if it is implemented selectively”.
He stressed the need for sustained and uninterrupted delivery of humanitarian aid, fuel, food, and medicine to the Gaza Strip.
King Abdullah reaffirmed the unequivocal rejection of the forced displacement or internal displacement of the Palestinians, describing that as a war crime according to international law, “and a red line for all of us”.
“This conflict did not start two weeks ago, and it will not stop if we continue down this blood-soaked path,” he warned.
The King added: “Today, Israel is literally starving civilians in Gaza, but for decades, Palestinians have been starved of hope, of freedom, and a future”.
Pointing to the absence of international accountability, he said when the bombs stop falling, Israel is never held accountable, the injustices of occupation continue and the world walks away, until the next round of violence.
“The bloodshed we are witnessing today is the price of that, of failing to make tangible progress towards a political horizon that brings peace for Palestinians and Israelis alike,” the King said.
He said the Israeli leadership must realize that there is no military solution to its security concerns and that it cannot continue to sideline the five million Palestinians living under its occupation
Israeli leadership, King Abullah continued, must realize that Palestinian lives are no less valuable than Israeli lives.
“The only path to a safe and secure future for the people of the Middle East and the entire world starts with the belief that every human life is of equal value and it ends with two states, Palestine and Israel, sharing land and peace from the river to the sea,” he concluded.