Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge, plans to visit Palestinian territories and Israel during summer 2018, the Kensington Palace announced on Thursday, the first official British royal visit to the area since 1948.
The announcement was made via a tweet by Kensington Palace, in which it stated the Duke "will visit Israel, Jordan and the Occupied Palestinian Territories in the summer," on the request of the Foreign Office.
The trip will be William's first to the Middle East.
British royals have received numerous "official" invitations prior to this one from the Israeli government, none of which have been approved.
Having said that, British royals have visited Israel in the past, for personal reasons, however, none have done so on an official "royal tour."
The British government condemns illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Israel's president, Reuven Rivlin, welcomed the announcement with a tweet in which he claimed Prince William's visit would be a "present for our 70th year of independence" - where in fact it's 70 years of Nakba, day of catastrophe, for Palestinians.
The office of the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said it "welcomes this important visit, which we hope will contribute to strengthening ties of friendship between the two peoples," according to The Guardian.
Following the announcement, human rights NGO, Amnesty International, urged Prince William to make use of the visit to speak up for those "affected by Israel's 50-year occupation" and to raise awareness on the intensity of detained children in Israeli prisons.
"During his trip we hope Prince William visits some of the Palestinian communities affected by Israel’s 50-year occupation, including people in Hebron who've been torn from their families and livelihoods by the notorious Shuhada Street closure," said Alan Hogarth, Amnesty International UK’s head of policy and government affairs.
Statements from the British Embassy in Israel vs. Jerusalem differed in terminology
A heated debate was sparked online after the British Embassy in Israel released a Hebrew-language statement in which it omitted the word "occupied" from the statement.
Instead, the visit was said to be made to "Israel and the Palestinian Authority" ... which sparked a debate online.
The Palestinian Authority, the creation of an interim Palestinian government, was established following the 1993-1994 Oslo Accords. It has been described as a "flawed agreement" by Hanan Ashrawi, Palestinian legislator, activist, and scholar.
The PA has also been called out for its lack of "economic prosperity, and, in particular, for its security coordination with Israel that has repeatedly silenced dissent – whether it was against the occupation or the PA and its policies."