Abbas tells Prince William he is ‘serious’ about peace with Israel

RAMALLAH: Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas told Prince William that Palestinians are committed to reaching a peace agreement with Israel, appealing for British support as he welcomed the first official visit of a British royal to Palestine.
William met Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Wednesday, the second day of a three-day tour of Israel and the Palestinian Territories, an area that Britain ruled as the colonial power from 1920 to 1948.
Abbas told William that he “is serious in reaching peace with Israel so that both countries can live in security and stability on the June 4, 1967 borders,” referring to Palestinian demands for the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip for their future state.
“We are always in need of the support of the British people for our just Palestinian cause,” Abbas said, according to the official Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa.
In the West Bank, the 36-year-old prince will focus on cultural activities, watching a traditional Palestinian dance known as the Dabka and sampling Palestinian cuisine.
William, who is second in line to the throne, met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday and will tour Jerusalem’s Old City — a focal point of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — on Thursday. But the prince’s visit, in line with most royal trips, has not touched on thorny political issues even as Palestinians have asked Britain to apologise for its seminal support of a Jewish homeland over 100 years ago.
Britain issued the Balfour deceleration in 1917 — a document lamented by Palestinians and praised by Israelis — which called for a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine.
William’s itinerary, which labelled East Jerusalem and the West Bankas “the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” provoked some ire from Israeli politicians.
The issue of Jerusalem has remained especially sensitive after US President Donald Trump declared the contested city as Israel’s capital and moved the embassy there in May.
Israel captured the eastern half of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed the territory in a move that was never internationally recognised.
Palestinians want East Jerusalem as their future capital, while Israel says Jerusalem is the Jewish State’s “undivided” capital.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said on Monday that the Palestinians are trying to convince Britain to work against Trump’s Jerusalem move.
Earlier on Wednesday, Prince William sipped an old-fashioned soda along Tel Aviv’s
most historic promenade with Israel’s
Eurovision winner. — dpa