In rare political foray, UK’s Prince William calls to end Gaza fighting, free hostages

British royal expresses concern for situation in Strip, saying ‘too many have been killed,’ will attend a synagogue next week to highlight global rise in antisemitism

Britain's Prince William visits the British Red Cross at its headquarters in London, Feb. 20, 2024.  (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, Pool)
Britain's Prince William visits the British Red Cross at its headquarters in London, Feb. 20, 2024. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, Pool)

Britain’s Prince William on Tuesday called for an end to the fighting in Gaza, where he said too many people had been killed in the conflict. He also called for the hostages abducted from Israel and held by gunmen in the Strip to be released.

Political intervention by members of the royal family is unusual, but William, the 41-year-old heir to the throne, is due to carry out a number of engagements to recognize the human suffering caused by the conflict in the Middle East on Tuesday.

His office has also said he will draw attention to the global rise in antisemitism.

“I remain deeply concerned about the terrible human cost of the conflict in the Middle East since the Hamas terrorist attack on 7 October. Too many have been killed,” William said.

“I, like so many others, want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible. There is a desperate need for increased humanitarian support to Gaza. It’s critical that aid gets in and the hostages are released.”

Kensington Palace added that Britain’s Foreign Office had been briefed about William’s statement before he made it.

Prince William’s statement on February 20, 2024 (Courtesy)

In response to Prince William, Israeli government spokesman Eylon Levy said: “Israelis of course want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible, and that will be possible once the 134 hostages are released, and once the Hamas terror army threatening to repeat the October 7 atrocities is dismantled.”

In further comment, Levy said: “We appreciate the Prince of Wales’ call for Hamas to free the hostages.

“We also recall with gratitude his statement from October 11 condemning Hamas’ terror attacks and reaffirming Israel’s right of self-defense against them.”

Next week the prince of Wales, who in 2018 became the first senior British royal to make an official visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority, will attend a synagogue to hear from young people who are involved in tackling hatred and antisemitism as part of his engagement schedule.

During his visit to Israel, William toured Jerusalem’s Old City and visited the grave of his great-grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, who is buried on the Mount of Olives.

He also met with relatives of a Jewish family who were saved by Princess Alice during the Holocaust. She is recognized as  as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.

The war in Gaza started last October when Hamas terrorists burst into southern Israel, killing 1,200 people and seizing 253 hostages, in what William’s father, King Charles, had called “barbaric acts of terrorism.”

In response, Israel launched a ground offensive into Gaza aimed at destroying Hamas and freeing the hostages.

Britain’s Prince William touches the Western Wall, the holiest site where Jews can pray, in Jerusalem’s Old City on June 28, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Menahem KAHANA)

The Hamas-run health ministry says that more than 29,000 people have been killed.

The figures provided by the health ministry cannot be independently verified and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. The IDF says it has killed over 12,000 operatives in Gaza, in addition to some 1,000 terrorists inside Israel on October 7.

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