Prince William’s Recent Visit to Israel Has the Power to Change the Face of the Royal Family

Prince William visits Israel

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge embarks on his official tour. | Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Prince William embarked on a three-day tour

It’s the first of its kind for a British diplomat. This trip wasn’t just a diplomatic engagement: Prince William made history as the first British royal to step foot in Israel and Palestinian territories. One of the prince’s spokesmen confirmed that his visit will be nonpolitical. He also acknowledged the “well-known, complex challenges” in the Middle East and the controversy it made for the prince.

His tour includes a visit to the Yad Vashem, a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and a soccer game intended to promote coexistence in Jaffa. Netanyahu told legislators the nation will “of course welcome the prince” on the “historic visit.” The Duke of Cambridge’s visit notably falls right after Israel celebrated its 70th anniversary of independence. While not a political trip, the British government requested Prince William make the trip. Previous to this momentous occasion, it was British policy not to make a royal visit until the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Experts warned him of potential hostility

Paving the way for potential future royal relations with the two nations is no easy feat. International relations experts reportedly warned Prine William that Palestinian citizens may not receive him warmly. Dr. Moriel Ram, a visiting research fellow at the University College of London and Center for Palestine Studies voiced his opinion on the matter.

“It will be safe to assume that Israelis will be more enthusiastic from this visit than Palestinians, as the latter looks suspiciously on western powers due to their support in Israel. The state of Israeli-Palestinian relations is in its lowest stage and if any the visit will embolden the hard line of the current Israeli government.”

According to the Daily Express, two leaders are already using the prince as a sort of middleman to spread the word of peace. Israel’s President Rivlin told Prince William during their meeting that he knew of the prince’s upcoming meeting with President Abbas. “I would like you to send him a message of peace and tell him it is about time, it is about time that we have to find together the way to build confidence,” he requested of Prince William.

William responded to the comments saying he hoped “that peace in the area can be achieved.” An Israeli historian, Tom Segev, voiced that some Israelis resent what he called the British royal family’s “boycott of Israel” over the years. “I don’t expect many Israelis to stream out on to the street and greet the car of Prince William,” he told Reuters.

 

Prince William visits Israel

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge visits with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. | Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images

Still, most have faith William will succeed

The prince took on both a challenging and busy trip. His itinerary is packed with Jerusalem’s Holocaust memorial, a meeting with two Holocaust survivors and former British refugees, and a visit to Tel Aviv. The prince already met with Netanyahu and has plans to meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at some point in the occupied West Bank.

Britain’s Consul General in Jerusalem told Reuters of his faith in William’s abilities. “In a sense, in challenging times it’s all the more important that friends of the region show their interest, show their engagement for the long term, and I think that’s exactly what Prince William will be able to do.”

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