JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Britain’s Prince William toured Jerusalem’s most sacred and delicate websites on Thursday, wrapping up a politically delicate go to that each Palestinians and Israelis, locked in a prolonged battle, had been capable of embrace.
Assuring Palestinians they’d not been forgotten and ending what Israelis had seen as an undeclared British boycott of official visits to their nation by the royal household, William made no evident missteps in following an itinerary fastidiously scripted for stability.
Billed as non-political, the four-day tour of Israel and the occupied Palestinian Territories was a possibility to point out goodwill and voice hopes for peace in areas Britain dominated from 1917 to 1948, the yr of Israel’s creation.
Embarking on a go to of Muslim, Jewish and Christian holy locations in Jerusalem, William shook fingers with clerics after which entered Islam’s Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa mosque.
They are on a web site revered by Muslims because the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews because the Temple Mount, the place Biblical temples as soon as stood.
Minutes later, accompanied by Jewish rabbis, William approached the Western Wall, on the foot of the sacred hilltop, by way of a passage fashioned by police barricades that held again a crowd of onlookers.
Wearing a skullcap and following a Jewish custom of providing a written prayer on the wall, he positioned a word between its stones, rested the palm of 1 hand towards them and leaned ahead in silent reflection.
Separately, he wrote within the Western Wall’s official visitor e-book: “May the God of peace bless this region and all the world with peace.”
William then visited the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, one other fashionable cease for pilgrims and the place many Christians consider Jesus was crucified and buried.
The holy websites he toured are in East Jerusalem, captured by Israel within the 1967 Middle East battle and annexed in a transfer that has not gained worldwide recognition. Palestinians need East Jerusalem because the capital of a state they search within the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
William’s journey, undertaken on the behest of the British government, was the primary official go to by a senior member of Britain’s royal household to Israel and the Palestinian Territories.
Until now it had been British coverage to not make an official royal go to till the Israeli-Palestinian battle was resolved.
Britain gave no detailed clarification for the change of tack, which coincided with Israel’s 70th anniversary.
Before visiting the shrines, William – second in line to the throne – made a pilgrimage to the Jerusalem tomb of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice, who was honoured by Israel for sheltering Jews in her palace in Nazi-occupied Greece in the course of the Holocaust.
Princess Alice of Battenberg and Greece, who was Queen Elizabeth’s mother-in-law, is buried in a crypt within the Russian Orthodox Church of Mary Magdalene on the Mount of Olives exterior Jerusalem’s Old City.
A religious Christian, she died in London in 1969 and had requested to be buried in Jerusalem.
In a go to on Wednesday to the West Bank, William met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and toured a refugee camp, on a day that additionally took him to the Israeli coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv. Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu hosted William on the prime minister’s residence on Tuesday.
At a gathering of Palestinian civil society, business and non secular leaders in Jerusalem on Wednesday, the prince spoke of the “very powerful experience” of assembly Palestinians within the West Bank.
“My message tonight is that you have not been forgotten,” he mentioned.”
However, one Palestinian exterior a clinic William visited voiced anger on the legacy of Britain’s colonial-era involvement within the Holy Land, citing the 1917 Balfour Declaration.
In the doc, the British government expressed its help for “a national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.
There was additionally grumbling from an Israeli right-wing legislator after a British assertion on William’s go to listed Jerusalem as being inside occupied Palestinian territory.
“Until we meet again, Prince Charming,” the British Embassy tweeted in Hebrew as William’s airplane taxied for departure from Tel Aviv’s Ben-Gurion airport.
Additional reporting by Dan Williams, Stephen Farrell and Ali Sawafta; Editing by Gareth Jones