The Duke of Cambridge has delivered a message of hope to Palestinians, telling them that they have not been forgotten and that the “UK stands with you”.
The Duke, who spent time in the Occupied Palestinian Territories on Wednesday, called for “lasting peace for the region”, as he visited President Mahmoud Abbas.
Saying hopes for peace and security were not “extravagant aspirations”, the Duke told guests at a garden party that he wished his visit to shine a light on the friendship between the Palestinian and British people.
“My message tonight is that you have not been forgotten,” he said.
“The United Kingdom stands with you, as we work together for a peaceful and prosperous future.”
The Duke became the first member of the British royal family to visit the Occupied Palestinian Territories, spending time in Ramallah and Jalazone refugee camp.
He also had a meeting with President Abbas, in which both their hopes for the future.
On Tuesday, the Duke had been asked by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to deliver a “message of peace” to Mr. Abbas, in an unexpected public intervention.
Mr. Abbas, in turn, used his meeting to tell the Duke of his “full commitment to achieving a full and lasting peace based on a two state solution where the state of Palestine lives side by side with the state of Israel with both supervising peace and security”.
The Duke replied: “Thank you for welcoming me and 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 and long may that continue.
“My sentiments are the same as yours in hoping there is a lasting peace for the region, so thank you.”
At a party at the British Consulate General in Jerusalem, the Duke spoke of how he had enjoyed learning more about Palestinian culture, in a day which included a street festival showcasing song and dance about the history of its people.
In Jalazone, opened in wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, he visited refugees now living in concrete buildings, in an area of high unemployment and violent clashes between Palestinians and a neighboring Israeli settlement.
Praising the regions young people, culture and food, the Duke said: “I am also struck by how many people in the region want a just and lasting peace.
“This is only too evident among the young people I have met, who long for a new chapter to be written in the history of this region – a chapter which will secure them a prosperous future and will ensure that their enormous talents can flourish.
“These are not extravagant aspirations, but the same aspirations of young people everywhere in the world.”
The Duke’s speech was warmly welcomed by Palestinians, including a group who had travelled from Gaza to tell him about their lives.
“He addressed us as Palestinians in the consulate of Her Majesty in East Jerusalem,” said guest Maged Abu Ramadan.
“It will be very impactful on ears, hearts and minds.
“The misery in Gaza is a feeling of being abandoned, a feeling of being orphans.
“To have a member of the Royal family to take the time and make the effort to remember us and tell us ‘you are not left alone’ is very important.”
On Thursday, the Duke will spend time at the Mount of Olives, including a visit the grave of his great-grandmother Princess Alice.
The Duke of Cambridge was clapped and cheered by Palestinians as he made his first visit to a refugee camp to learn about the lives of Arabs on the West Bank.
After meeting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah he travelled a few miles away to the streets of the West Bank camp of Jalazone to visit a school and health clinic.
The camp first opened in wake of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war but today the tents have given way to concrete buildings home built along rough-hewn streets and pavement.
It is home to around 15,000 residents where unemployment is high and violent clashes between Palestinians and a neighboring Israeli settlement and its forces are a regular occurrence.
Dozens of young men had gathered outside the medical center and lined the street waiting for the duke to leave and held up smart phones to capture the moment.
When he emerged they clapped and cheered the royal who walked around 50 meters along the street’s rough surface looking around at the shops and homes.
Inside the medical center William had shown off his paternal instincts when he met a group of Palestinian refugee mums having their young babies vaccinated.
With his third child Prince Louis around the same age as the babies being cradled by their mothers, the second in line to the thrown could not help cooing over one-month-old Naifa as she was given her jabs.
“So tiny to have injections,” the royal dad said as the doctor performed the procedure and the infant began to cry, adding, “Is it always in the legs?”
Her mother Suhair Moussa was questioned by William, through an interpreter, and he looked surprised when he asked if it was her first child and she replied it was her fifth.