Prince William: ‘The UK stands with Palestine for a peaceful and prosperous future’

  • Prince William spoke at the British Consulate in Jerusalem
  • He spoke of the close bonds between Palestine and the UK

RAMALLAH: Following is the full text of Prince William’s speech at the British Consulate in Jerusalem on Wednesday evening …

“It is a great pleasure to be in Jerusalem this evening, on the first official visit by a member of my family. I have had a tremendous welcome today. I am especially grateful to President Abbas for the honor of the lunch he gave for me this afternoon, and for the opportunity he afforded me to meet so many of his close colleagues.

During the course of the day, I have met Palestinians from a range of backgrounds and from many different places, including from Gaza. I saw at Jalazone the tremendous hardships faced by the refugees, and I can only imagine the difficulties of life lived under these conditions, the limited resources and the lack of opportunity.

As I said when I was in Tel Aviv yesterday, this region has a complicated and tragic history — in the past century, the people of the Middle East have suffered great sadness and loss. Never has hope and reconciliation been more needed. I know I share a desire with all of you, and with your neighbors, for a just and lasting peace.

The story of the Palestinian people is so often told only through the lens of difficulty and conflict — but there is another story which I was privileged to witness today. This afternoon in Ramallah I saw an unforgettable display of Palestinian culture and hospitality. The Dabka, the singing, and the dancing were by turns beautiful, moving and joyful.

The cuisine was utterly delicious. All these are aspects of a long, varied and vibrant culture that finds expression in so many ways, not just your music but also your poetry and literature.

Your rich traditions of scholarship live on in the importance you attach to education. I know how much we in the United Kingdom benefit from the many Chevening scholars and other bright young Palestinians who study in Britain. And I was delighted to know what value you too place on these exchanges.

I am struck by how many people in the region want a just and lasting peace. This is only too evident among the young people I have met, who long for a new chapter to be written in the history of this region — a chapter which will secure them a prosperous future and will ensure that their enormous talents can flourish.

These are not extravagant aspirations, but the same aspirations of young people everywhere in the world.

My message tonight is that you have not been forgotten. It has been a very powerful experience to meet you and other Palestinians living in the West Bank, and to hear your stories.

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.

The United Kingdom stands with you, as we work together for a peaceful and prosperous future.
Thank you for coming this evening and for making me so welcome.”

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