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Visit to Israel by Prince Charles refused because of FCO 'pandering' to Arab nations

Foreign Office blamed for dumping invitation issued by Rivlin for Prince of Wales to commemorate Balfour in Israel

    A planned visit by Prince Charles to Israel to mark the Balfour Declaration later this year has allegedly been refused to avoid upsetting Arab nations.

    Although the trip was never officially announced, it was rumoured to be under consideration after Israeli president Reuven Rivlin issued an invitation during a meeting with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson in Jerusalem in March.

    Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, told the Sun the decision was an “insult to British war dead”, and accused the Foreign Office of being behind the decision.

    Mr Kemp claimed the FCO were “pandering” to Arab dictators by allegedly blocking the trip. 

    No Royal has ever been on an state visit to Israel since it was founded in 1948, although there have been official visits to Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, UAE, Oman, Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya and Qatar.

    According to the Sun, the decision was made by the Royal Visits Committee – part of the FCO - and there is no suggestion the Prince of Wales was involved in the cancellation.

    The invitation reportedly never reached the office of Prince Charles.  

    As well as marking the centenary of the Balfour Declaration – when Britain became the first nation to officially recognise the right of the Jewish people to a homeland - Prince Charles had been due to attend a ceremony in Israel commemorating Commonwealth soldiers who died during the Palestine Campaign in 1917.

    Prince Charles made a private trip to Israel in October last year to attend the funeral of former Israeli president Shimon Peres and visit the grave of his grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenberg, who is buried at Mount of Olives’ Church of Mary Magdalene.

    A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "Her Majesty's Government makes decisions on Royal Visits based on recommendations from the Royal Visits Committee, taking into account advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.  The Committee never proposed a royal visit to Israel for 2017.  Plans for 2018 will be announced in due course."

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