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Israel is ‘dismayed’ by Prince William’s call for an end to the fighting in Gaza but ‘don’t want to enter a public row with the future King’ after the royal’s unprecedented intervention


Israel is ‘dismayed’ by Prince William‘s call for an end to the fighting in Gaza but do not want to risk entering a public row with the future King following his unprecedented royal intervention, it was claimed last night.

In an extraordinary – and symbolically significant – statement, the heir to the throne said the ‘terrible human cost’ of the Israel-Hamas conflict had seen ‘too many killed’.

‘I, like so many others, want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible,’ said William, 41. He also highlighted the desperate need for more humanitarian aid for the civilians of Gaza and, notably, called on Hamas to release its remaining Israeli hostages.

The prince’s carefully-chosen words are the strongest yet by a senior royal in response to Israel‘s devastating military action in Gaza following the sickening terror attacks of October 7.

Israeli chiefs are understood to have been caught off by the prince’s intervention and The Telegraph reports they consider his public statement to be naive. The newspaper claims they are ‘dismayed’ but do not want to risk clashing with Britain’s future King. 

It comes ahead of a crunch vote in the Commons today on a second SNP-led motion for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Prince William last night called for an end to the fighting in Gaza in an unprecedented royal intervention

In an extraordinary ¿ and symbolically significant ¿ statement the future king said the 'terrible human cost' of the conflict had seen 'too many killed'

In an extraordinary – and symbolically significant – statement the future king said the ‘terrible human cost’ of the conflict had seen ‘too many killed’

Palestinians search for bodies and survivors among the rubble following Israeli airstrikes on the west of Al Nusairat refugee camp (February 20)

Palestinians search for bodies and survivors among the rubble following Israeli airstrikes on the west of Al Nusairat refugee camp (February 20)

Last night, the UK Government put forward an amendment to counter the SNP‘s ceasefire motion in a move that could expose Labour splits over conflict.

Labour had looked to avoid another possible rebellion over the Israel-Hamas war by tabling its own amendment to the SNP motion.

Sir Keir Starmer‘s party yesterday publicly shifted its stance to back a call for an ‘immediate humanitarian ceasefire’, giving MPs who were unhappy with the leadership’s previous handling of the issue a wording to rally behind.

But the Government’s decision to table its own counter-amendment to the motion increases the likelihood that the Commons Speaker will not choose the Labour amendment for debate today.

It could leave Labour MPs with the choice between voting for the Government’s position, which does not go as far as calling for an immediate ceasefire, and the SNP’s stance.

The debate will be going on as thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators are expected to take part in a rally in Parliament Square on Wednesday.

Lisa Nandy, shadow international development minister, said Labour’s proposal for a ceasefire differs from the SNP’s by emphasising that it must be ‘two-sided’.

She told Good Morning Britain: ‘On the question of immediate ceasefire, there’s no difference. We have used the language of our international ‘Five Eyes’ partners Australia, Canada and New Zealand who over the last few days have called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

So far, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry, almost 30,000 people have been killed in Gaza and a further 1.7million displaced. Pictured: Palestinians search for bodies and survivors (Feburary 20)

So far, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry, almost 30,000 people have been killed in Gaza and a further 1.7million displaced. Pictured: Palestinians search for bodies and survivors (Feburary 20)

‘We think that adds weight to those calls, that the world is speaking with one voice as the ground invasion of Rafah is imminent and it must be averted.

‘But there are significant differences between our proposition and the SNP’s. We are clear that any ceasefire by definition must be two-sided, that Israel can’t be expected to lay down its weapons if Hamas doesn’t observe the terms of that ceasefire.

‘The SNP motion is vague, whether deliberately or otherwise, on that point and we think it’s extremely important that we send that message.’

She added that Labour’s amendment also included a ‘political horizon and a pathway to peace’ in the long-term, which the SNP motion did not.

Prince William’s public statement also came ahead of a visit by the Prince of Wales to the British Red Cross in London to discuss the spiralling humanitarian crisis in Gaza and beyond.

His statement was issued with the knowledge of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and welcomed by Downing Street, which said his ‘measured’ call for an end to the fighting was in line with the Government’s position.

Royal aides emphasised that it was the ‘extent of the human suffering that is on display which had led him to make the statement he has today’.

They would not confirm whether it had the backing of the King. But father and son did meet in Norfolk at the weekend, where Charles is recuperating from cancer treatment.

However, the statement also puts the heir to the throne at risk of accusations of meddling.

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has resisted calls to halt his military action, making clear that he will not stop until Hamas, which is classed as a terror organisation by the UK Government, is destroyed and Gaza is demilitarised.

He is now planning to invade the city of Rafah, a move which the United States has condemned.

And today sees a contentious, and highly emotive, debate in Parliament over the conflict.

Last night some Tory MPs criticised William, with suggestions that he risked undermining ‘the underlying principle of our constitutional monarchy’.

Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams said today's intervention was evidence that William was following elements of his father Charles' 'outspoken' approach to issues of the day. Pictured: The King attends this Sunday's service

Royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams said today’s intervention was evidence that William was following elements of his father Charles’ ‘outspoken’ approach to issues of the day. Pictured: The King attends this Sunday’s service

Israel’s government spokesman Eylon Levy issued a more diplomatic response to the Prince’s intervention, saying: ‘Israelis of course want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible, and that will be possible once the 134 hostages are released, and once the Hamas terror army threatening to repeat the 7 October atrocities is dismantled.

‘We appreciate the Prince of Wales’ call for Hamas to free the hostages. We also recall with gratitude his statement from 11 October condemning Hamas’s terror attacks and reaffirming Israel’s right of self-defence against them.’

Sources close to the heir to the throne acknowledged that the issues surrounding the crisis are highly politicised. But they stressed that having undertaken a well-received visit to both Israel and the West Bank in 2018, William had been following events closely.

Veteran diplomat who is advising heir to the throne 

Senior diplomat David Hunt accompanied the Prince of Wales on a visit to the headquarters of the British Red Cross yesterday.

Mr Hunt joined Prince William’s team last summer as a special adviser on foreign affairs from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office.

The married father-of-two has more than 20 years of international experience.

He joined the Foreign Office in 2001 from the private sector. His experience includes a three-year stint as the ambassador to Lithuania and he was the consul general to the Kurdistan region of Iraq for over a year, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Prior to these roles, Mr Hunt was the consul general in Washington and worked for two years as a deputy director at the Foreign Office.

They said he had thought ‘long and hard’ about whether to say anything, but felt the overwhelming humanitarian crisis unfolding in the region required him to speak out.

So far, according to the Hamas-controlled Gaza health ministry, almost 30,000 people have been killed in Gaza and a further 1.7million displaced, out of a population of two million. Hamas murdered almost 1,200 Israeli and foreign nationals on October 7, and took almost 250 hostages.

Royal aides insisted that William’s words should not be taken as a call for an immediate ceasefire or a comment on the issue of a ‘two state’ solution, but as an instinctive reaction to monumental loss of life both as a human being and ‘as a father’.

Many royal insiders see the statement as an example of William’s distinct vision for the monarchy and his desire to speak his mind on the issues that matter. Sources close to the prince have long told the Mail that he believes the institution ‘needs to better explain its own thinking, particularly in terms of its place in the world’.

The Chief Rabbi Sir Ephraim Mirvis shared William’s statement online and wrote: ‘Since his visit to the region in 2018, the Prince of Wales has shown a deep concern for the well-being of all those affected by the conflict in the Middle East and his words of compassion today, which I welcome, are yet further evidence of this’

However, Tory peer Stewart Jackson described the Prince’s intervention as ‘ill-timed and ill-judged’.

Conservative MP Andrew Percy, vice-chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on anti-Semitism, said: ‘The underlying principle of our constitutional monarchy is that members of the Royal Family do not engage in contentious political issues of the day on which there are divergent and strongly held beliefs in this country.’

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage said on X, formerly Twitter: ‘I’m not sure that our future King should be doing this. He should stick to the Baftas.’

William’s visit to the Red Cross was one of two engagements – the other to a synagogue next week – designed to recognise ‘human suffering’ from all sides as a result of the current conflict.

The Prince of Wales listened today to Pascal Hundt, senior crisis manager with the International Committee of the Red Cross, dialling in from Gaza

The Prince of Wales listened today to Pascal Hundt, senior crisis manager with the International Committee of the Red Cross, dialling in from Gaza

'Their Royal Highnesses hold all the victims, their families and their friends in their hearts and minds,' a spokesperson previously said on behalf of William and Kate, pictured

‘Their Royal Highnesses hold all the victims, their families and their friends in their hearts and minds,’ a spokesperson previously said on behalf of William and Kate, pictured

During the visit William spoke via video link to Pascal Hundt, senior crisis manager with the International Committee of the Red Cross, who is currently in Gaza. As he left the building there were two cries of ‘free Palestine’ from an otherwise enthusiastic crowd.

No 10 was informed in advance of the prince’s statement, and the Prime Minister is said to have told colleagues that the points made by William reflected his own views.

A Whitehall source said the prince’s comments would add momentum to the search for peace. ‘Whenever the Royals speak, people listen,’ the source said.

What William said… and what he meant 

What he said: ‘I remain deeply concerned about the terrible human cost of the conflict in the Middle East since the Hamas terrorist attack on October 7. Too many have been killed.’

What it means: Prince William reminds us that he and his wife have already voiced their ‘profound distress’ at the ‘horrors inflicted by Hamas’s terrorist attack’ last year. The new statement makes the simple humanitarian case that the cost of the conflict to civilians on both sides has been too high.

What he said: ‘I, like so many others, want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible. There is a desperate need for increased humanitarian support to Gaza. It’s critical that aid gets in and hostages are released.’

What it means: The prince calls for an end to the fighting ‘as soon as possible’ but pointedly stops short of calling for the immediate ceasefire demanded by the Left, which critics warn could allow Hamas to re-arm. In a balanced statement he underlines the ‘desperate need’ to relieve human suffering in Gaza while also calling on Hamas to release the remaining hostages.

What he said: ‘Sometimes it is only when faced with the sheer scale of human suffering that the importance of permanent peace is brought home.’

What it means: Again, the prince makes the humanitarian case that the enormity of the crisis demands that the world makes a renewed effort to find a lasting solution to the decades-old Middle East crisis. He makes no explicit reference to the idea of a two-state solution, which is now opposed by Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but stresses the importance of a ‘permanent peace’, which suggests a long-term settlement between Israel and the Palestinian territories.

What he said: ‘Even in the darkest hour, we must not succumb to the counsel of despair. I continue to cling to the hope that a brighter future can be found and I refuse to give up on that.’

What it means: The prince appears to have thought long and hard about whether to intervene in such strong terms. But, possibly because of his own experience as the first royal to visit Israel and the West Bank in 2018, and because the hour is so dark, he has decided the potential benefits outweigh the risk of being accused of overstepping his constitutional role.



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