As Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, is scheduled to visit the Middle East for his first time ever, the British royal family issued a statement on details of the visit that will include Jordan, Israel and the “Occupied Palestinian territories” where he will have “a short briefing on the history and geography of Jerusalem's Old City from a viewing point at the Mount of Olives.”
The royal visit was welcomed by the Israeli government and officials, although there may have been questions after the royal palace released their statement. As Israel is fighting to consider Jerusalem as the capital of their state.
Ze’ev Elkin, the Israeli Jerusalem Affairs Minister slammed Prince William back for listing Jerusalem as part of his trip to Palestine.
Elkin, who recently announced he will campaign to become mayor of Jerusalem in upcoming elections, criticized the royal statement saying: “It is regrettable that in Britain they chose to politicize the royal visit.” He added: “United Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and no distortion in the tour itinerary can change that reality,” according to Israel’s Ynet News.
The statement sparked controversy among social media users with most reactions encouraging such step that carries implicit positive sign from the British royal family toward the Palestinian cause.
Many Britons went to call on the Prince and the royal family for cancelling the visit to Israel at all as part of protesting the occupation in Palestine.
On the other hand, the Israeli politician, Danny Ayalon, called Israelis to boycott the visit fearing what impact it will bring to Israel by the international community, according to the Israeli newspaper, Maariv.
Ayalon called it “unacceptable” that Prince William recognize the territory as it belongs to Palestinians in contrary to all agreements.
This comes in a time while Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem is still not recognized by many countries in addition to condemning the latest step taken by the current US administration headed by Donald Trump when Jerusalem was recognized as Israel’s capital.
Some users went to remind the world of the role played by Britain triggering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since more than 70 years with the Balfour declaration in 1917.
Others supported the royal statement in which the Palestinian occupied territories and Jerusalem were recognized.
The statement issued by Kensington Palace indicated that Prince William, will start his first-of-its-kind trip in the region on June 24 until June 28. His visit will start in Jordan where he is scheduled to meet Crown Prince Al-Hussein Bin Abdullah II and visit Jerash city. He will also have several meetings will Jordanians and Syrian refugees there to “help refugees to integrate and to find work and shelter”.
Prince William, the second-in-line to the throne, is expected then to travel to Tel Aviv where he will visit a Holocaust Memorial Museum and will also meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several Israeli officials. After that, the Prince will travel to Ramallah, where he will meet the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas.
This visit is the first for Prince William, however, both the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales have made previous visits to the region.