As British Prince William continued his historic tour of the Holy Land - the first ever official visit for a British royal - he met with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. The Times of Israel's Raphael Ahren reports that the President asked the Prince to relay a plea for peace to Palestinian Authority chief Mahmoud Abbas:
Hosting the Duke of Cambridge in his official Jerusalem residence, Rivlin said the Palestinians need to accept that Jews have returned to their ancestral homeland and that it was about time Israelis and Palestinians end their conflict.
“I know that you’re going to meet President Abbas. I would like you to send him a message of peace,” Rivlin told his royal guest.
“And tell him it is about time, it is about time that we have to find together the way to build confidence. To build confidence as a first step to bring to [an] understanding that we have to bring to an end to the tragedy between us” that has been going on for 120 years, he said, speaking in English.
Prince William — the first member of the British royal family to make an official visit to Israel since the state was founded in 1948 — also expressed the hope for peace in the Middle East, though his formulation was very vague, steering clear of endorsing any political position.
“I, like you, look forward to understanding lots about the region and about hoping that peace in the area can be achieved,” he said. “So I am very much looking forward to really absorbing and understanding the different issues, the different cultures, the different religions, culminating in a visit, which will be very symbolic and very interesting for me, in the Old City on Thursday which I am very much looking forward to seeing...”