Prince William has been urged to visit Gaza, where 120 Palestinians were shot dead in the past two months by Israeli military, during his upcoming visit to the Middle East by the vice president of the British Palestinian Council.
The Duke of Cambridge will be visiting Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) between 24-28 June. He is expected to meet with Isreali Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at his office in Ramallah.
Yet the Prince’s travel itinerary released last week made no mention of a visit to the besieged enclave of Gaza, where Israeli forces have used live ammunition against largely unarmed protestors in recent months.
The Red Cross reports 120 people were killed and 13,000 injured since the Great Return March began on March 30, when Palestinians started protesting for their right to return to the lands they were stripped of when the State of Israel was founded.
Professor Kamel Hawwash told RT Palestinians still “lay the blame at Britain’s door” for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. But a visit by the Prince to the hospitals in Gaza would have helped “boost the morale”.
Hawwash said among others, the Duke could have visited the home of 21-year-old volunteer medic Razan Najar, who was shot dead by Israeli soldiers while giving first aid to injured protesters.
“It would have shown some sympathy, that there is someone who is not political and who is making a humanitarian gesture visiting the home of someone killed for no other reason,” the council’s vice president said.
But Hawwash instead claimed the main reason for the trip is the UK wanting to hammer out a free trade deal with Israel ahead of Brexit, and Prince Williams is merely “part of it.”
Saying the visit could not take place at a worse time because of the current turmoil, Hawwash said: “The royal family has held off making a statement since Israel’s foundation in 1948 and what has changed?
“Has it ended its occupation? Does it treat its citizens, the Israelis and the Palestinians equally? Has it really committed to peace with Palestinians? No. And if that’s the case what is the point of a making royal visit now?”
Hawwash added that “if Palestine wasn’t inside of Israel he probably wouldn’t have visited.”
Israel has defended its use of live fire against the Palestinian protesters saying it was necessary to defend its land from Hamas – Palestine’s leading political party which is deemed a terrorist organization by the US and EU.
Prince William recently angered Israeli politicians by referring to East Jerusalem as part of the occupied Palestinian territories in a statement which outlined details of his trip.
Israel’s Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin hit back on Facebook saying Jerusalem was “unified” and “has been the capital of Israel for over 3,000 years.”
Elkin wrote: “It’s regrettable that Britain chose to politicise the Royal visit. Unified Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for over 3,000 years and no twisted wording of the official press release will change the reality. I’m expecting the prince’s staff to fix this distortion.”
East Jerusalem has been considered occupied, under international law, since 1967.
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