The United Kingdom has cancelled a state visit to Israel by monarch Prince Charles, allegedly due to concerns over alienating the region’s Arab states, the Jewish Chronicle reported on Monday. A British military official said in response to the decision that it constituted “pandering” to the Arab nations.
President Reuven Rivlin originally invited a member of the British royal family to visit Israel during a meeting with UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson in March. According to reports, Prince Charles accepted the invitation, though the visit was never officially announced.
It would have been the first official state visit made by a British royal. Though members of the royal family have visited Israel on personal business – Prince Charles came to Jerusalem last September to attend the funeral of President Shimon Peres – they have traditionally turned down official invitations extended by the government.
The visit would have coincided with the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration and included a ceremony commemorating the 16,000 British and Commonwealth soldiers who died in the 1917 Palestine Campaign, said the Jewish Chronicle.
Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan and friend of Israel, decried the cancellation, accusing the UK Foreign Office’s Royal Visits Committee, ostensibly behind the move, of “pandering” to Arab dictators.
The decision to disallow Prince Charles’ visit is an “insult to British war dead”, Kemp charged.
The cancellation seems to have been largely political; it is unlikely that Prince Charles himself was involved. Indeed, Charles has his own family ties to Israel: when in Jerusalem, the prince, who wore a kippah emblazoned with his royal seal during Peres’ funeral, took the opportunity to visit the grave of his grandmother, Princess Alice of Battenburg, buried on the Mount of Olives.
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Source: Israel in the News