Why was the British prince's visit to Israel canceled?

Although Israeli President Reuven Rivlin invited the British Royal family to visit Israel, officially, Prince Charles' apparent state trip has been canceled by the British Foreign Office.
Prince Charles' visited Israel last year in a personal capacity Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Prince Charles found himself in the midst of a diplomatic storm after the British Foreign Office canceled preparations ahead of his visit to Israel. The British Crown Prince wanted to be the first member of the royal family to make an official state visit to Israel since its establishment in 1948. However, British Foreign Office officials, who initially decided to postpone the visit planned for the end of the year, have now all together canceled it.

The Sun reported today (Sunday) that the visit was apparently canceled in order to avoid upsetting some Arab countries that frequently host members of the royal family. Colonel Richard Kemp, a former senior level commander in the British army and a prominent supporter of Israel, called the Foreign Office “camel corps” who were “pandering” to Arab dictators.

The preparations for the visit began at the beginning of the year after Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, who met with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, invited the royal family to visit Jerusalem. As part of the visit, the prince was to visit the graves of the 16,000 British soldiers killed in the campaign to conquer the Land of Israel in 1917. In addition, the prince was expected to attend events marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, when the British government became the first country to recognize the right of the Jewish people to establish a state in the land.

However, the Royal Visits Committee of the British Foreign Office, responsible for coordinating travel by the royal family around the world, opposed the visit. Furthermore, it seemed that the official invitation never reached the royal family or even Prince Charles himself. “Decisions on where members of the Royal Family visit on behalf of Her Majesty’s Government are taken by the Royal Visits Committee and it includes advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office,” stated the British Foreign Office.

Even if the visit had taken place as planned, it would not have been Prince Charles' first time in Israel. Last October, the British crown prince attended the late Israeli President Shimon Peres’ funeral and visited his paternal grandmother’s grave, who is buried in a church near the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem, which are both personal visits.

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