The Sun is reporting that the planned trip for Prince Charles to visit Israel in 2017 has been scrapped by the Foreign Office.
The heir to the throne was set to become the first Royal to carry out an official state visit to Israel since the state was reborn in 1948.
Prince Charles was due to honour the 16,000 British soldiers who died in the 1917 “Palestine Campaign” during WW1, which including British troops taking Jerusalem. He was also planned to commemorate the historic Balfour Declaration.
The decision is thought to have taken place to “avoid upsetting Arab nation in the region who regularly host UK Royals”, the tabloid reports.
Colonel Richard Kemp, a former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, branded the decision an “insult to British war dead” and slammed the Foreign Office as “camel corps” who were “pandering to Arab dictators”.
Colonel Kemp is a long-time supporter of Israel and friend of Christians United for Israel and will be speaking at our Night to Honour Israel in London this June.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin extended an invitation for a royal state visit to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson at a meeting in Jerusalem earlier this year. The Sun reported that the invitation never officially reached the royal family.
This is disappointing news for British supporters of Israel as 2017 marks important milestones for the two nations. And it is even more upsetting as Australian PM Malcom Turnbull has already confirmed he will attend commemoration services.
Though the visit was not officially announced, senior officials had been cited in the British and Israeli media in recent weeks saying that Charles or another member of the royal family would travel to Israel to mark 100 years since the Balfour Declaration.
A Foreign Office spokeswoman said in a statement, “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.”
The fact that our close ally Israel has never been honoured with a Royal visit is wrong. And it is even more frustrating that the planned visit has been cancelled on such an important year for our two nations.
Our supporters have also been vocal in their support for a British Royal to visit Israel. A recent poll showed CUFI supporters overwhelmingly wanted to see a Royal visit to Israel this year.