From CNN's November 8, 2023 White House warns Israel over post-war plans for Gaza

CNN: I wanted to play for you sound from Jordan's Queen Rania, she's been very outspoken. She's also, ah, Jordan is a very critical ally in the region for the United States. Take a listen:

QUEEN RANIA: If you manage to eliminate all of Hamas, what next? The root cause of this conflict is an illegal occupation. It is routine human rights abuses, illegal settlements, a disregard to U.N. resolutions and international law. If we do not address these root causes, then you can kill the combatant, but you cannot kill the cause.

She is of Palestinian descent.

note 1: She says "an illegal occupation" which could suggest Israel itself rather than several expansions and occupations (plural).

Question: What is the illegal occupation of which Queen Rania speaks? Is it all of Israel, or just some parts - perhaps settlements or expansions beyond some 20th century established boundaries?

note 2: It will likely be necessary to find the source from which CNN has taken this clip without context (I triedl but failed), and/or to examine her position(s) from other of her numerous speeches and writings, in order to generate fact-based answers.

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    Jordan has recognized Israel and has a peace treaty so... the answer seems a bit obvious. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel%E2%80%93Jordan_peace_treaty Nov 7, 2023 at 21:47
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    Do you really think she's going to have (and publicly state) a different position than the official one? Why do you think she would do that? Nov 7, 2023 at 21:50
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    @Fizz "I didn't find the answer in five minutes therefore nobody could ever find or know anything further" is a characteristic of Politics SE that is not replicated in other SE sites. If we don't know the answer, we wait and see what the other smart folks in the community might contribute. Voting to quickly prevent anyone from answering just because we don't know the answer is not what the feature is for. "and/or to examine her position(s) from other of her numerous speeches and writings, in order to generate fact-based answers." Nov 7, 2023 at 21:59
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    It's perfectly grammatical in English to collectively refer to the occupation of e.g. Gaza and the West Bank (by whatever definition) and any other non-contiguous territory in the singular. Example. I guess it's reasonable to ask if Rania regards Israel in toto as an illegal occupation (to which the answer seems to clearly be no), but the question seems based on a misapprehension.
    – Stuart F
    Nov 8, 2023 at 15:10
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    @Fizz Mind-reading is indeed a challenge (when push-detecting, or just reading/watching the news), and it's even harder for some of us than others. For me sometimes even when apparently articulate people say things in a way that some folks would characterize as plainly, I still can't get their gist because I lack some specific context, linguistic skill or some cluster of synapses that neurotypical people have. But I think I've worked hard here and elsewhere to avoid being an actual "pusher" or even appearing like one. I might have encountered some "too basic" & anti-push in History SE: Nov 9, 2023 at 21:30

2 Answers 2

  • "The root cause of this conflict is an illegal occupation." You're mistakenly assuming she construes "conflict" there to refer just to the 2023 war or just to the conflict between Hamas and Israel. It's not unheard of for [somewhat] pro-Palestinian voices to refer to the background (wider conflict) to this round of fighting as necessary to understand it. They can phrase that in various ways, see the UN chief or Obama.

  • "illegal occupation" and not "illegal occupations" because "illegal occupation of Palestinian territories" is a common phrase and she is clearly speaking rather fast there, so it's not unexpected to hear incomplete expressions. (You seem to be just as befuddled as Fox News is [or pretends to be] when Obama uses that shorthand "occupation" expression, by the way.)

  • In her longer CNN interview with Amanpour, Queen Rania refers to the Wall in the West Bank as being illegal (with allusion to the 2004 ICJ decision) and so forth. And even in the short bit you've quoted, she adds 'illegal settlements', which is another shorthand for the often argued-about expansion of Jewish settlements in the West Bank. (Israel has dismantled their settlements in Gaza, right before their 2005 ground-troops pullout.)

“Most networks are covering the story under the title of ‘Israel at war.’ But for many Palestinians on the other side of the separation wall, on the other side of the barbed wire, war has never left,” she said.

“This is a 75-year-old story, a story of overwhelming death and displacement to the Palestinian people. It is a story of an occupation under apartheid regime, that occupies lands, that demolishes houses, confiscates lands, military incursions, night raids.”

  • Jordan has signed a piece treaty with Israel, so they do recognize Israel. There is little reason to assume Queen Rania does not, or even if she somehow thinks that that she'd publicly contradict the official position of Jordan on that, given her quasi-official status as a speaker. (She [approvingly] refers to speeches of her husband often enough in her interviews, in general agreement.) Likewise, it's been the long-standing policy of Jordan to seek a two-state solution to the Palestinian problem, although they want Israel to make some territorial concessions [to the Palestinians--that matter is not settled by the Jordan-Israel treaty]:

The latest violence - which broke out when Hamas militants assaulted Israel at the weekend - showed the region would not "enjoy stability, security or peace" without a sovereign Palestinian state on land that Israel had captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, he [the king] said.

That is with reference to the pre-67 armistice border.

  • And if you click that last link, it's easily revealed there that Obama too was explicit about which borders (and thus what occupation) he meant, at least back in 2011. Nov 8, 2023 at 8:02

There are two distinct territories where the majority of Palestinians are currently forced to live - the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The "singular" illegal occupation she is referring to is to the territory of Gaza strip that Israel occupied and still blockades (in effect, still controlling it). This can be inferred from her earlier reference to Hamas, who dominate the area and operate from there. And her later statements specifically referencing the citizens of Gaza.


  1. Hear what Queen Rania of Jordan said about Hamas and the 'root cause' of the conflict

  2. Israel must lift illegal and inhumane blockade on Gaza as power plant runs out of fuel

  3. Who are Israeli settlers, and why do they live on Palestinian lands?

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    OK I think I understand your answer now; she's referencing an "effective occupation" of Gaza by various other means, rather than a boots-on-the-ground physical occupation. Nov 7, 2023 at 22:48
  • FYI: common phrase "illegal occupation of Palestinian territories". Nov 7, 2023 at 22:51
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    BTW, she adds 'illegal settlements'. Where are those in Gaza? Nov 7, 2023 at 23:02

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