TEL AVIV – Israeli President Reuven Rivlin asked Prince William to convey a “message of peace” to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas when the two meet tomorrow in Ramallah.
“I know that you’re going to meet President Abbas. I would like you to send him a message of peace,” Rivlin told the Duke of Cambridge, who is on a visit to the country.
“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 continued.
Rivlin told the prince that it was time for the Palestinians to come to terms with the fact that Israel is a Jewish state.
“They have to understand only that the Jewish people have returned back to their homeland,” he said.
“There’s only one God, and we are letting everyone worship God according to his belief,” the president added. “All the other problems have to be solved first of all with the understanding of both sides that we’re not doomed to live together. Our destiny is to live together. We are destined to live together,” he went on.
Prince William, who is the first British royal in history to make an official visit to Israel, responded diplomatically.
“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.”
The prince’s visit sparked controversy when Kensington Palace used the term “Occupied Palestinian Territories” to describing his upcoming visit to Jerusalem’s Old City.
The prince reflected on his day, which included a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. While there, the prince met with Jews who were rescued by Britain as children.
“It’s my first visit to Israel and I am obviously looking forward to getting to meet as many Israelis as possible, and understand Israeli history and Israeli culture over the next few days,” Prince William said.
“I had a very moving tour around Yad Vashem this morning which really taught me quite a lot more than I thought I knew about the true horrors of what happened to the Jews during the war, so I very much appreciate the time everyone gave to show me around that museum,” he added.
He also noted the display of shoes by those murdered in the Holocaust. “Terrifying. (I’m) trying to comprehend the scale,” he said.
He highlighted his great-grandmother, Princess Alice, who was recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations for her role in rescuing Jews during the Holocaust.
On Wednesday morning, Prince William is set to take part in a mystery “cultural event” in Tel Aviv. Later that day, he will meet with Israel’s Eurovision Song Contest winner Netta Barzilai.
On Wednesday afternoon, he will meet Abbas in Ramallah.