Minister slams Prince William’s Israel schedule listing old city as Palestinian
Jerusalem Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin condemned Prince William for politicizing his visit to Israel by listing his tour of the Old City of Jerusalem as part of his trip to the Palestinian territories.
“It is regrettable that in Britain they chose to politicize the royal visit,” Elkin said, according to the Ynet. “United Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and no distortion in the tour itinerary can change that reality.”
Kensington Palace last week published the Duke of Cambridge’s royal itinerary which drew criticism from some in Israel after it referred to the Old City as located in the “Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
“I expect the prince’s people to correct the distortion,” Jerusalem mayor hopeful, Elkin said.
Israel established a military presence in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967 following the Six Day War. In 1980, after the Knesset passed the Jerusalem Law, the annexation was formalized. The move has never been formally recognized by the international community.
The Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state whilst Israel claims the whole of the city as its undivided capital.
William is set to visit the region June 24-28 where he will stop in Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Last week Kensington Palace hinted that the second-in-line to the throne was considering a visit to the Western Wall.
His Royal Highness will receive a “short briefing on the history and geography of Jerusalem’s Old City from a viewing point at the Mount of Olives,” the Palace reported. He will then “travel a short distance to the Church of St. Mary Magdalene where he will pay his respects at the tomb of his great grandmother Princess Alice."
The Western Wall - the holiest site in Judaism - lies in what is considered to be Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem.
If the prince was to visit the contested site it was be dubbed a “private visit” meaning no official representative the host country would have to accompany him, allowing him to circumnavigate recognition of sovereignty over the site. Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s visit to the wall last week was designated private, as was US President Donald Trump’s visit last year.
William’s trip will include also meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.
The Prince will be accompanied by Chief UK Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and 10 advisers including his senior adviser sir David Manning [former UK ambassador to Israel].
The trip is something that has been discussed for a number of years, and the Prince “is very much looking forward to it,” the spokesperson said.
Prince William is also expected to visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem, and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah.
"We look forward to contributing to strengthening the bonds of friendship between the two peoples," a statement from the Palestinian presidency on official news agency WAFA said.
It is also understood that William will be focusing on the youth by visiting grassroot organizations and Palestinian and Israeli representatives from civil society.
There have been no previous official visits by members of the British royal family to the Palestinian Territories.
William will also be the first close relation of Queen Elizabeth II to make an official visit to Israel, following trips made previously by the monarch's cousins the Duke of Kent and the Duke of Gloucester.
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You tend to forget that most of these royals are not taught to think. So whatever they say comes from the mouth of others. Just have a look at his choice of marriage! Honestly, it's no loss to us.