Britain's Prince William (AP/ Daniel Leal-Olivas, Pool) (AP/ Daniel Leal-Olivas, Pool)
Prince William

Prince William’s visit to “the Occupied Palestinian Territories will begin with a short briefing on the history and geography of Jerusalem’s Old City,” Kensington Palace announced. 

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

Prince William, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and second-in-line to the throne, is the first British royal to pay an official visit to Israel.

During the four-day tour, the prince will visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial accompanied by Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and will also view Jerusalem’s Old City from the Mount of Olives.

He will also visit the Church of St. Mary Magdalene and visit the tomb of his great-grandmother Princess Alice. His father Prince Charles and grandfather Prince Philip have visited the site before during trips considered “private.” Prince Charles has Israel visited twice for the funerals of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin and President Shimon Peres.

Jason Knauf, the prince’s Communications Secretary, underscored the “non-political” nature of the visit.

“The non-political nature of his royal highness’s role—in common with all royal visits overseas—allows a spotlight to be brought to bear on the people of the region,” Knauf said.

However, the Duke of Cambridge’s visit has already struck unpleasant political chords.

The Hebrew statement issued by the British Embassy in Tel Aviv announcing the visit said that the prince will visit “the Palestinian Authority,” while the English statement said he will visit “the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”

Furthermore, Kensington Palace announced that William’s visit to Jerusalem will be a part of his official visit to the PA, even though it is Israel’s capital.

“The next day’s programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territories will begin with a short briefing on the history and geography of Jerusalem’s Old City from a viewing point at the Mount of Olives,” the itinerary published by the palace on Monday says.

“Rather than finesse Britain’s position on the most explosive issue in the Arab conflict with Israel, Britain decided to use Prince William’s visit to do what no government, other than Pakistan, ever did: claim, in an official act, that these sections of Jerusalem belong to the Arabs, not the Jews,” Caroline Glick wrote for Breitbart.

“Almost every aspect of William’s visit, except for his meetings with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, and Israel’s Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem are political,” she charged.

Noting that Prince William’s visit to Israel supposedly ends a 70 year boycott by the British royal family on the Jewish state, Glick surmised, “Unfortunately, Prince William’s deeply political and hostile ‘historic’ visit indicates that ending the royal boycott is not a sign that Britain has turned over a new leaf in its hostile and contemptuous treatment of the Jewish state.”