ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 141

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Prince of peace

UK tabloid claims William is now devoting himself to Mideast peace

‘This is the start of something new,’ 36-year-old Duke of Cambridge said to tell aides after being ‘deeply moved’ by Israel-PA visit

Britain's Prince William stands on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City with the golden dome of the Dome of the Rock on June 28, 2018. (AFP Photo/Pool/Thomas Coex)
Britain's Prince William stands on Jerusalem's Mount of Olives overlooking the Old City with the golden dome of the Dome of the Rock on June 28, 2018. (AFP Photo/Pool/Thomas Coex)

The British tabloid The Mirror claims Prince William, second in line to the British throne, was so deeply affected by his visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority last week that he plans to make advocating for peace in the region “my lifelong mission.”

“The visit had a profound effect on the Duke,” a “royal source” told The Mirror.

“The places he visited, the people he met and the stories he heard have all moved him very deeply,” the source said.

According to a “highly-placed Palace source” the 36-year-old royal told his aides at the conclusion of his four-day trip: “This is the start of something new. I will forever honor my commitments to the people I have met.”

Britain’s royals are expected to remain above debates over politics and policy, so it is not clear what William, if the report is true, intends to do to fulfill his commitment to playing “a significant role in bringing ‘peace and prosperity’ to the Middle East,” as the Mirror report put it.

Britain’s Prince William poses for a group photo with Jewish and Arab children at the Neve Golan Stadium in the Israeli Mediterranean coastal city of Jaffa on June 26, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / POOL / Heidi Levine)

The Palace source told the paper: “William was happy the subject of politics was brought out into the open” in planning for the trip, “as it allowed him to talk freely about the troubles of the Middle East and the quest for peace in the separate states.”

The report is a gushing tribute to the prince, arguing in the reporter’s own voice that “William’s courageous actions will reverberate around the world for years to come,” that he “seemed to grow in stature with every day that passed, every meeting he successfully navigated and every story he was told,” and that the trip was “acclaimed by political and religious leaders on both sides as having real potential to be a game-changer.”

It cited an official saying “William is a young, intelligent man who is very in tune with the politics of the world. No one will forget when he told the Palestinian people they have ‘not been forgotten.’”

And it enthused: “He has often thought about his mother’s legacy and hopes his efforts will now lead a new chapter for future generations to enjoy.”

The Duke of Cambridge’s stay was the first official visit by a member of the royal family since the British Mandate ended and the State of Israel was founded in 1948.

Prince William seen with Israeli footvolley players at Frishman beach in Tel Aviv, on June 26, 2018. (Niv Aharonson/POOL)

His Israel visit began Tuesday with a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum, accompanied by British Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis and survivors who were saved from Nazi Germany by being sent to the UK on the Kindertransport. He also met families of people who were saved by his great-grandmother Princess Alice of Battenberg, who was recognized as one of the Righteous Among the Nations.

On Tuesday and Wednesday William toured the Tel Aviv beach, met with Israeli youth, and took a stroll down the city’s famed Rothschild Boulevard with Eurovision winner Netta Barzilai.

William told guests at Tuesday’s Ramat Gan reception that Israel is a vibrant country that “thrives on innovation, diversity, talent, and excellence,” and said ties were at an all-time high.

He also promised Britain’s support in the quest for peace between Israel and its neighbors.

“I know I share a desire with all of you, and with your neighbors, for a just and lasting peace. The United Kingdom stands with you, as we work together for a peaceful and prosperous future,” he said.

Prince William (c) tours the Temple Mount on June 28, 2018. (British Consulate General Jerusalem)

On Wednesday, in Ramallah, Prince William told Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas he was “glad our two countries work so closely together.” Later that day, at a British Consulate event in East Jerusalem, he assured the Palestinians that they have not been “forgotten.”

William’s visit ended Thursday afternoon, after visits to Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City, when he boarded a flight back to London.

He had achieved his aim of “getting under the skin of the country,” UK ambassador David Quarrey said after the visit.

Quarrey told Hadashot news that the prince had two goals for his trip to the Jewish state: to pay respect to the victims of the Holocaust and to meet the country’s young people to hear from them their goals and aspirations for the future.

The ambassador said William enjoyed being able to walk around the streets and meet the people of Israel. He told Hadashot that the prince had stressed he didn’t want to spend time in meetings but wanted to get out and get a real feel for the country.

The palace had stressed that the royal visit was not political, but the prince wrote his hopes for the region in the guestbook at the Western Wall: “May the God of peace bless this region and all the world with peace.”

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