AMMAN: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Britain’s Prince William to Palestine and affirmed his full commitment to achieving a just and lasting peace with Israel.
The Duke of Cambridge visited a refugee camp, inaugurated a musical fountain, and enjoyed music and Palestinian cuisine.
Abbas told the visiting prince that Palestinians are serious about making peace with Israel. “We want to reach peace through negotiations. This is our position which has not changed in a long time,” he told the Duke of Cambridge, who is on his first official visit to Palestine, during their meeting at the presidential headquarters in Ramallah.
“I hope that your next visit will be in the state of Palestine when we have our full independence,” Abbas added.
He said the prince’s visit will deepen and strengthen the friendly ties between the Palestinian and British people.
“We are always in need of the support of the British people for our just Palestinian cause,” he said.
Abbas also mentioned the recent financial aid provided by the British government to support the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), saying it was an important gesture.
Scott Anderson, director of UNRWA field operations in the West Bank, told Arab News that he was happy to take the British prince to the Jalazoun refugee camp outside Ramallah. “He visited a health center and a girls school, and he interacted with mothers and children.”
Anderson called it a “positive visit” and said that the prince was engaged throughout, asking many of the teenagers “what they wanted to do when they grow up.”
Ahmad Abu Laban, the Ramallah city manager, said that the prince met with city’s mayor and council and other Palestinian leaders.
“We were proud to host the prince after his meeting with President Abbas,” the added.
Prince William took part in a ceremony to open Ramallah’s first musical fountain. Abu Laban said that after the official meetings, speeches and musical presentation, the British royal enjoyed Palestinian cuisine.
“He walked around our food fair enjoying falafel and kenafeh sweets, and engaging with the local community. He seemed excited and happy with the visit.”
The Duke of Cambridge visited the local Friends school and met Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Association, and members of the Palestinian national team as well as young footballers.
“It was the first time since 1800 for such a royal British visit,” Abu Laban said.
“Even though the royal palace doesn’t deal with politics, we are happy he referred to our future capital as the occupied city of Jerusalem.”
While the British prince steered away from politics, David Stansbury, from the British Consulate General in Jerusalem, told a Palestinian radio station that the UK supports the two-state solution on the 1967 borders, with Jerusalem as capital to both countries.
Stansbury was adamant that the UK had no plans to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
The UK Consulate in Jerusalem was busy on social media. @UKinJerusalem tweeted that this is “the first official visit by a senior member from the Royal Family to the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” It called the visit “a historic moment and a model of strong ties of friendship and respect between the British & Palestinian peoples.”
The prince will visit Jerusalem on Thursday.