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Prince William recognises Palestine as 'country' in historic Mideast trip

Prince William meets Mahmoud Abbas in a historic trip to Ramallah [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 June, 2018

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Prince William's comments came during a meeting in Ramallah with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
UK's Prince William said on Wednesday in a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that he was glad "our two countries work so closely together", an apparent nod to Palestinian statehood.

"My sentiments are the same as yours in hoping that there is a lasting peace in the region," he added, during the meeting in Ramallah.

Prince William's trip to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories marked the first time a British royal family member made official visits to both.

The visit included a stop on Tuesday at the Holocaust memorial Yad Vashem, where Prince William laid a wreath. He also held separate meetings with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin.

The prince is scheduled to complete his stay by visiting historical and religious sites in Jerusalem on Thursday.

He is staying at the King David Hotel, former headquarters of the British administration during the mandate in Palestine before the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

Before departing Prince William's trip attracted criticism from hardline Israelis after Kensington Palace released an itinerary earlier this month which made reference to the "Occupied Palestinian Territories". While the language is in line with UN resolutions, it is uncommon for Western officials to employ. 

Jerusalem Affairs Minister Zeev Elkin at the time slammed the prince for his word choice. 

"It is regrettable that in Britain they chose to politicise the royal visit," Elkin said, according to Israeli news website Ynet.

Prince William's trip also comes at a time when Israel has come under sharp international criticism for firing live rounds at unarmed Palestinian protesters along the Israel-Gaza separation fence.

At least 125 Palestinians have died since the Great March of Return began on 30 March. No Israelis have been killed. 

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