The Duke of Cambridge has made an historic visit to the Palestinian Territories, as President Abbas commits to lasting peace with Israel.
Prince William, who was yesterday asked by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to deliver a “message of peace” to the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, said he shared the same hopes of stability for the future of the region.
The visit to Ramallah is the first time a member of the British royal family has set foot in the Palestinian Territories in an official capacity, in a trip designed to balance the Duke’s trip to Israel.
After posing for a photograph, Mr Abbas reaffirmed his “full commitment to achieving a full and lasting peace based on a two state solution where the state of Palestine lives side by side with the state of Israel with both supervising peace and security.”
Mr Abbas said: “Your Royal Highness Prince William, it is my honour to receive you in Palestine for your first visit.
“I hope this will not be the last visit and that your next visit will be in the state of Palestine when we have our full independence.
“Your royal highness, your visit to us will deepen and strengthen the ties between our two peoples. We are always in need of your constant support us in our just cause which has taken a long, long, long time and is not solved.”
Thanking the British government for their aid for refugees, he added: “On this occasion your royal highness allow me to specify two things – number one, my full committment to achieving a just and lasting peace based on a two state solution where the state of Palestine lives side by side with the state of Israel with both supervising peace and security.
“This is our position, I reiterate it today, this will not change.”
In response, Prince William thanked Mr Abbas for his welcome and revealed his hopes for “peace for the region”.
He said: “President, I’d just like to say, what pleasure it is to be here today. Thank you for your very warm welcome.
“It is my first visit, what you pointed to and I’m very much looking forward to meeting some Palestinians today and seeing some of the culture and the diversity of Palestinians and their way of life, so thank you for welcoming me and I’m very glad that our two countries work so closely together and have had success stories with education and relief work in the past and long may that continue.
“My sentiments are the same as yours in hoping there is a lasting peace for the region, so thank you.”
The Duke of Cambridge was welcomed to the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah, six miles north of Jerusalem, by the Palestinian Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu Amr, who escorted him past a guard of honour formed by the Palestinian police and their band.
After the briefest of welcoming ceremonies, William was taken up to the presidential wing on the second floor, where Mr Abbas was there to greet him.
Two other prominent Palestinian politicians and veteran peace negotiators, Saeb Erekat and Hanan Ashrawi, were also in the room for the historic meeting.
Duke cheered by Palestinians at refugee camp visit
The Duke of Cambridge was clapped and cheered by Palestinians as he made his first visit to a refugee camp to learn about the lives of Arabs on the West Bank.
After meeting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah he travelled a few miles away to the streets of the West Bank camp of Jalazone to visit a school and health clinic.
The camp first opened in wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war but today the tents have given way to concrete buildings home built along rough-hewn streets and pavement.
It is home to around 15,000 residents where unemployment is high and violent clashes between Palestinians and a neighbouring Israeli settlement and its forces are a regular occurrence.
Dozens of young men had gathered outside the medical centre and lined the street waiting for the duke to leave and held up smart phones to capture the moment.
When he emerged they clapped and cheered the royal who walked around 50 metres along the street’s rough surface looking around at the shops and homes.
Inside the medical centre William had shown off his paternal instincts when he met a group of Palestinian refugee mums having their young babies vaccinated.
With his third child Prince Louis around the same age as the babies being cradled by their mothers, the second in line to the thrown could not help cooing over one-month-old Naifa as she was given her jabs.
“So tiny to have injections,” the royal dad said as the doctor performed the procedure and the infant began to cry, adding, “Is it always in the legs?”
Her mother Suhair Moussa was questioned by William, through an interpreter, and he looked surprised when he asked if it was her first child and she replied it was her fifth.
Source: The Telegraph