Jun. 19, 2018
- Prince William’s Visit to Israel – Elliott Abrams
On June 25, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, will visit Israel in the first official visit by a member of the British royal family, which has made scores of visits to Arab capitals. But leave it to the British Foreign Office to try to stir ill will over the visit. As the London Jewish Chronicle reports, his visit to Jerusalem is described by the Foreign Office as a trip to the “Occupied Palestinian territories.”
As former holders of the Palestine Mandate, the British should know that the Old City of Jerusalem was never “Palestinian territory” and has never been under Palestinian sovereignty for one single day. To call a visit to the Old City a visit to “Occupied Palestinian territory” is deeply and probably intentionally offensive – and plain wrong.
This episode has made me agree entirely with David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, that the U.S. should stop using the term “occupied territory” to describe any part of Jerusalem or the West Bank. Call it “disputed territory,” which it certainly is. Legally, it is hard to see how land that was once Ottoman, then governed by Britain, then Jordanian, can be “Occupied Palestinian territory.” The writer, a senior fellow at CFR, handled Middle East affairs at the U.S. National Security Council from 2001 to 2009. (Council on Foreign Relations)