The Duke of Cambridge ended his visit to Ramallah yesterday by giving a speech at the British consulate general’s residence in Jerusalem.
An honour guard, marching band and red carpet greeted the Duke of Cambridge when he arrived to tour a clinic and school in Jalazone camp where 15,000 people live.
At the refugee camp, he met staff, patients and families involved in the United Nations’ Child Vaccination programme. He also had a kickabout with Ramallah Friends School’s aspiring young footballers. The Duke later attended a cultural event at the Ramallah Municipality that included the traditional Palestinian dance, Dabke, and the chance to meet some local entrepreneurs.
In his speech, the Duke of Cambridge told Palestinians: “My message tonight is that you have not been forgotten … 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 will grow stronger.”
On Tuesday, Israel’s president Reuven Rivlin had asked the Duke of Cambridge to deliver a “message of peace” to the Palestinian leader, Mahmoud Abbas.
Abbas met the Duke in his Ramallah offices yesterday where he told him he hoped his homeland would be a fully independent state by the next time he visited the Middle East. He said is fully committed 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.”
He added: “I hope this will not be the last visit … that your next visit will be in the state of Palestine when we have our full independence”. The Duke of Cambridge responded with his own hopes for “peace for the region”.
Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, and under the Oslo peace agreements, the semi-autonomous Palestinian Authority has jurisdiction over parts of the West Bank.