UK’s Prince William to meet Netanyahu, Abbas on landmark Middle East trip

Prince William will be making the trip to the Middle East alone as his wife Kate will remain in Britain to look after their third child Prince Louis who was born in April. (Getty Images)
Updated 11 June 2018
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UK’s Prince William to meet Netanyahu, Abbas on landmark Middle East trip

  • William is the first senior British royal to pay an official visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
  • William will begin the trip in Jordan, where his wife lived for two years as a young child.

LONDON: Britain’s Prince William will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas when he makes a landmark trip to the region later this month, his office said on Monday.
William, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and second-in-line to the British throne, is the first senior British royal to pay an official visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories.
While the trip is at the behest of the British government, the prince’s Communications Secretary Jason Knauf said such a visit had been discussed for years.
“Now is the appropriate time and the Duke of Cambridge is the right person to make this visit,” Knauf told reporters, referring to William by his official title.
He said the prince was looking forward to building “a real and enduring relationship with the people of the region.”
“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.
Britain regards Israel as a close and important ally but the visit comes at a time when the two countries have been at odds over a number of major issues recently.
British Prime Minister Theresa May told Netanyahu ahead of a meeting in London last week that Britain was concerned at Palestinian deaths in clashes in the Gaza Strip.
More than 120 Palestinians have been killed since protests at the Gaza border began on March 30, including 60 people killed in one day in May.
Israel has also lauded US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and to move the US embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, both moves with which Britain disagrees.
Knauf said William would meet Netanyahu at the prime minister’s residence before seeing Abbas at his office in Ramallah the following day. Both leaders have previously welcomed the visit.
He will be making the trip alone as his wife Kate will remain in Britain to look after their third child Prince Louis who was born in April. However, he will be accompanied by his senior adviser, David Manning, a former British ambassador to Israel.
During the four-day tour, the prince will also go with Britain’s Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis to Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to Jewish victims of the Holocaust, and will also view Jerusalem’s Old City from the Mount of Olives.
He will also visit the Church of St. Mary Magdalene, and pay his respects at the tomb of his great-grandmother Princess Alice, which is located in the Garden of Gethsemane which his father Prince Charles and grandfather Prince Philip have both visited before during private trips.
William will begin the trip in Jordan, where his wife lived for two years as a young child, paying a visit to the archaeological site of Jerash where Kate was pictured in family photos released at the time of their 2011 marriage.


Video emerges of Macron bodyguard beating protester in Paris

Updated 47 min 34 sec ago
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Video emerges of Macron bodyguard beating protester in Paris

PARIS: A video showing one of French President Emmanuel Macron’s security chiefs beating a student demonstrator, until now cloaked in secrecy, is drawing a fierce public backlash over what is seen as mild punishment and a possible cover-up.
The video of the May 1 event in Paris, revealed by Le Monde on Wednesday evening, shows Alexandre Benalla in a helmet with police markings, and surrounded by riot police, brutally dragging off a woman from a demonstration and then repeatedly beating a young man on the ground. The man is heard begging him to stop. Another man in civilian clothing pulled the young man to the ground.
Police, who had hauled the man from the crowd before Benalla took over, didn’t intervene. Benalla then left the scene. The second man was apparently a gendarme who Le Monde said had worked with Benalla in the past.
The uproar over Benalla’s punishment — a two-week suspension and a change in responsibilities — forced top French officials to address the issue Thursday. But Macron has remained silent. Benalla, who hasn’t commented on the matter, handled Macron’s security during the presidential campaign.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, responding to questions in the Senate, called the event “shocking,” but stumbled to respond to questions, notably whether all French are equal before the law.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said that the two men “obviously had no legitimate (reason) to intervene.” He said he has demanded that a police unit which investigates suspected criminal behavior by officers explain the rules for observers and verify whether they were respected.
Condemning the “unacceptable behavior,” Macron spokesman Bruno Roger-Petit said that Benalla was also removed from his responsibilities of organizing security for presidential trips — though he maintains his office at the Elysee Palace.
In addition, authorities launched a preliminary investigation that could lead to charges against Benalla, a judicial official said on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss an ongoing case.
Despite this, Benalla has been seen this month on the ground with police at several high-profile events, including the return home Monday of France’s champion World Cup team, an event attended by hundreds of thousands.
Macron, in the Dordogne region to officially launch a new postage stamp, didn’t respond to questions about the scandal. The upstart centrist elected last year had promised an exemplary presidency during his term to break with unending cases of corruption in French politics.
Roger-Petit said the punishment dealt out to Benalla was the “most serious” ever given to a top aide at the presidential Elysee Palace and served as a “last warning before dismissal.”
Opposition politicians expressed shock, with some denouncing a climate of impunity at the top of the French political hierarchy and asking Macron to personally address the issue.
The head of France’s main conservative party The Republicans, Laurent Wauquiez, asked on Europe 1 radio if the government was trying to “hush the affair.”
Roger-Petit stressed that Benalla had requested authorization to use his day off “to observe” security forces’ operations on May Day when marches are traditionally held. It was granted.
It was unclear why the young man under attack, who wasn’t detained, was singled out by police before Benalla intervened.
“An observer doesn’t act like that,” said the spokesman for the UNSA-Police union. They are typically equipped and briefed in advance, and the framework is “completely clear,” Philippe Capon told BFM-TV.
He couldn’t say why police didn’t stop Benalla.
The context was “special,” he said. “He was an observer from the Elysee. When police officials hear the word ‘Elysee’ there is a particular apprehension.”