‘I’ll make peace my life’s work’, pledges Prince William after Israel visit

Duke vows to return after acclaimed tour


Prince William has vowed to return to Israel following the success of his Middle East tour and has insisted he will make it his “lifelong project” to resolve the conflict with the Palestinians.

In an enthusiastic assessment of the impact of his trip last week, the Duke of Cambridge confirmed he intended to remain in communication with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as the Palestinian leadership, in an effort to ensure he can contribute to bringing “peace and prosperity” to the region.

A Kensington Palace source confirmed the Duke had said he was “deeply affected” by the visit.

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, who accompanied Prince William, told the JC: “I have no doubt that the Duke of Cambridge will retain an interest in the future of the region.”

Prince William was said to have particularly welcomed Mr Rivlin’s decision to raise the issue of possible peace with the Palestinians at their meeting in Jerusalem.

President Rivlin told the Duke: “I know that you’re going to meet President Abbas. I would like you to send him a message of peace.”

Some suggested the comments had thrust Prince William into a political conflict he should not have been expected to comment on. Tradition dictates that the Royal Family stays neutral on such issues.

But the Palace source confirmed: “The Duke of Cambridge was glad that President Rivlin raised the issue — it was the elephant in the room. It allowed the Duke himself to talk more freely on the subject thereafter.

“By visiting the region the Duke was aware all sides were using it as an opportunity to get their agendas across. But he believes they did so without being too political or firebrand.

“William was happy the subject of politics was brought out into the open, as it allowed him to talk freely about the troubles of the Middle East and the quest for peace in the separate states.

“The way he was received on the global stage has been very encouraging for him looking forward.”

Reflecting on his time with the Duke, Rabbi Mirvis added: “He is a very intelligent and caring person. Overall I think his visit was a great success.

“It was clear to see the impact Israeli society had on the Duke, and also clear to see the impact the Duke had on Israeli society.

“He met people from all different walks of society. In Jerusalem, in particular, while he prayed at the wall, I believe the Duke gained a real awareness our aspiration for peace, and also the religious of the Jewish people there.”

After the trip the Duke said he would “honour my commitments to the people I have met” and his aides confirmed he saw his role as being “lifelong”.

“The politicians who affect this younger generation’s lives may only be in office for five, 10 or 20 years — but Prince William knows his duty is for life,” said the Palace source.

Before the visit, unsure of how he would be received, Prince William asked aides to brief him on the complex politics that have doomed previous attempts to make peace.

The Duke’s five-day Middle East trip was acclaimed by political and religious leaders on all sides.

Prince William was understood to have been so moved by meeting young people in the Ramallah refugee camps that he sat down and changed the bulk of a speech he had prepared.

He was also touched by a visit to the West Bank refugee camp of Jalazone, where he went to a school and a health centre and saw children being vaccinated.

The camp, which holds 15,000 people, suffers from high unemployment.

Prince William told locals: “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.”

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