Prince William Lands in Israel After Palace Officials Anger Jewish State
In first official royal visit since British Mandate, UK officials stress they don’t accept Jewish control of Jerusalem
Britain's Prince William landed at Ben Gurion Airport on Monday evening for the first official visit by a member of the royal family since the end of the British Mandate.
His three-day tour in the Holy Land is part of a broader Middle East trip. While here, the future king was scheduled to make high-profile stops at major sites across the country, including Yad Vashem, Jerusalem's Old City and the Western Wall, as well as meetings with Israeli and Palestinian leaders.
But it was the wording of the official itinerary published by Kensington Palace that irked Israeli officials. According to the itinerary, when Prince William visits Jerusalem's Old City and Judaism's holiest site, he will be doing so in "Occupied Palestinian Territory."
"United Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for 3,000 years and no distortion in the tour itinerary can change that reality," insisted Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze'ev Elkin.
The British ambassador to Israel, David Quarrey, defended the working of the itinerary, telling reporters that "all the terminology that was used in the program was consistent with years of practice by British governments. It’s consistent with British government policy."
Quarrey further stressed that Prince William is not a political figure, nor is his visit political in nature. Even so, many Israelis were displeased that the British government chose to use the wording of the prince's itinerary to drive home the point that it doesn't accept Jewish sovereignty over Jerusalem.