It was a historic moment as HRH Prince William stepped foot in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. The British royal, who is second in line to the throne, this week became the first member of the Royal Family to visit the occupied West Bank. The 36-year-old prince made the trip as part of his five-night official Middle Eastern tour, where he met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. During his meeting with the politician, the Duke of Cambridge expressed his hope for “a lasting peace for the region.” “I’m very glad that our two countries work so closely together and have had success stories with education and relief work in the past,” HRH told President Abbas, the BBC reports.
The royal spent his day visiting schools and the Jalazone refugee camp in Ramallah, where an estimated 15,000 people reside. HRH met with several mothers at the UN-run camp, who had brought their children into the on-site medical center for vaccinations, and later enjoyed a brief kick-about with young footballers at the Ramallah Friends School. Prince William also enjoyed a walking tour of Ramallah, where he was joined by the city’s mayor, Musa Hadid, for a performance of traditional dancing.
The royal later spoke about his visit to the camp at a garden party in the British Consulate General, where he told attendees he saw “the tremendous hardships faced by the refugees.” “I can only imagine the difficulties of life lived under these conditions, the limited resources and the lack of opportunity,” he said, according to the Daily Mail. Prince William, who had journeyed to Jordan earlier in the week, added that his message was that “you have not been forgotten”.
“It has been a very powerful experience to meet you and other Palestinians in the West Bank and to hear your stories,” the Duke of Cambridge said. “I hope that through my being here and understanding the challenges you face, the links of friendship and mutual respect between the Palestinian and British people can grow stronger.”