Britain’s Prince Williams to visit Jerusalem in June

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — In his historic visit to Israel, Britain’s Prince William will come to Jerusalem in the end of June, the British Royal Family said.

The announcement Friday about the visit sometime between June 24 and 28 was the first confirmation that Prince William, whose official title is the Duke of Cambridge, will visit the Israeli capital on the first-ever state visit to Israel by a senior British Royal, according to a report by the Associated Press.

The visit to Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authorities was announced in March but it contained no specific dates and did not mention Jerusalem. It did day William’s visit “is at the request of Her Majesty’s Government and has been welcomed by the Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian authorities.”

In Jordan, William is to visit Amman and Jerash. In the Palestinian Authority, he will visit Ramallah and in Israel he will visit Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, according to the report Friday.

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Like most of the world’s countries, the United Kingdom does not formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, pending the resolution of peace talks with the Palestinians, whose leaders also claim Jerusalem as the capital for their future state. The British foreign office’s official map of Israel lists no capital, describing both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as an “administrative center.” Unlike the March statement about William’s arrival, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office refers to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as “occupied Palestinian territories,” or OPT.

Earlier this month, the United States, Guatemala and Paraguay moved their embassies from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. The Latin American countries did this following President Donald Trump’s decision on the matter, which the European Union, of which the United Kingdom is a founding member, has condemned as damaging to peace efforts.

To date, no senior member of the Royal House has visited Israel in their official capacity in what many observers believe is a policy adopted following the Zionist movements’ use of violence against British nationals when the United Kingdom ruled the Mandate on Palestine – an area comprising modern-day Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.

Whereas members of the British Royal Family, including Queen Elizabeth, have made state visits to Kenya and other countries where acts perceived as terrorism were committed against Britain and its citizens by anti-colonialist combatants, they have stayed away from Israel in their official capacity since the country’s establishment in 1948.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement in March: “We welcome the announcement on the arrival of Prince William to Israel. This is a historic visit, the first of its kind, and it will be greeted here with great affection.”