‘Occupied’ East Jerusalem: Prince William infuriates Israel with statement on royal visit

‘Occupied’ East Jerusalem: Prince William infuriates Israel with statement on royal visit
Prince William has angered Israel’s Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin by referring to East Jerusalem as part of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), in a statement detailing his upcoming trip to the Middle East.

In a facebook post, Israel’s Elkin was enraged by the Prince’s OPT reference, claiming 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.”

The Duke of Cambridge is due to arrive in the region on June 25 to embark on a tour of Jordan, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. As part of that tour, the prince will visit the occupied Old City of Jerusalem.

Kensington Palace has released a statement detailing that the prince would be meeting Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, as well as visiting refugee communities; enabling him to enjoy the company of young Palestinians and “celebrate Palestinian culture, music and food.”

It’s details of the prince’s second day that has infuriated Elkin. The statement goes on to say: "The next day’s programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territories will begin with a short briefing on the history and geography of Jerusalem's Old City from a viewing point at the Mount of Olives."

The Old City is located in East Jerusalem which has been considered occupied since 1967 under international law. Furthermore, the UN Security Council considers “all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, including expropriation of land and properties thereon, which tend to change the legal status of Jerusalem are invalid and cannot change that status.” 

Official details have not yet been released on what religious sites will be included in the prince’s trip but, according to Israeli news website Ynet News, an informed source has said that William would visit Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Church of Saint John the Baptist and Al-Buraq (Western) Wall.

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