Israeli MK Bezalel Smotrich has asked Netanyahu to block Prince William’s visit to the Temple Mount under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority, saying such an incident would undermine Israel’s sovereignty at the holy site.
By: World Israel News Staff
Member of Knesset (MK) Bezalel Smotrich has dispatched a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asking him to block Prince William’s visit to the Temple Mount under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority (PA), saying such an incident would undermine Israel’s sovereignty at the holy site.
William is slated to visit Jerusalem’s Old City on Thursday during the segment of the visit categorized by Kensington Palace as a visit to the “Palestinian Occupied Territories.”
In the letter authored Sunday, Smotrich wrote that he was “shocked” to learn that William will be visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall under the auspices of the PA.
‘A severe move with symbolic significance’
“This is a severe move with symbolic significance that cannot be allowed, even ‘in exchange’ for the first visit by a member of the royal family,” the Israeli lawmaker wrote.
He called on Netanyahu to cancel the visit unless it is held under Israel’s sponsorship.
“It is unnecessary to elaborate on the significance of the Temple Mount and the Kotel (Western Wall) to the State of Israel and the Israeli public, and their [the sites] harming will not pass without a response,” he added ominously.
Prince William, Queen Elizabeth’s grandson and second in line to the throne, will become the first British royal to pay an official visit to Israel when he lands in the Jewish state on Monday evening.
While the tour is being marketed as “non-political,” the itinerary is already generating controversy.
The Hebrew statement issued by the British Embassy in Tel Aviv announcing the visit said that the prince will visit “the Palestinian Authority,” while the English statement said he will visit “the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”
Furthermore, Kensington Palace announced that William’s visit to Jerusalem will be a part of his official visit to the PA, even though it is Israel’s capital.
“The next day’s programme in the Occupied Palestinian Territories will begin with a short briefing on the history and geography of Jerusalem’s Old City from a viewing point at the Mount of Olives,” the itinerary published by the palace said.
Israeli Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Ze’ev Elkin demanded that the “distorted” itinerary be amended.
“It is regrettable that in Britain they have chosen to politicize the royal visit,” Elkin said last week, according to Ynet. “United Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for more than 3,000 years and no distortion in the tour itinerary will change that reality.”
He said that he expects “the prince’s people to correct the distortion.”