FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 22nd June, 2018

A statement from PSC on Prince William’s visit to the oPt and Israel

• Today, Prince William will arrive in Israel and the occupied West Bank as part of a regional trip
• This visit is the first since the creation of the State of Israel 70 years ago, and breaks with British Foreign Office policy that the royal family should not make official visits to Israel due to its historic and grave violations of human rights, international law and UN resolutions

Palestine Solidarity Campaign is deeply concerned that Prince William’s visit, like other international and diplomatic visits, is being used by Israel to mask its human rights abuses against Palestinians, including its recent premeditated killing of 128 Palestinians and the wounding of some 14,000 others in Gaza, including journalists, medics, and children.

In the aftermath of the killings, Israel has continued to refuse demands for an independent investigation. This visit by Prince William reinforces the UK government’s historic policy of turning a blind eye to gross violations of human rights when they are committed by the Israeli government.

It is, therefore, crucial that all attempts to use this visit by Prince William to normalise Israel’s continuous and systematic violations of human rights and humanitarian law are resisted. It is clear that the Israeli government will use the trip to achieve just that. It is concerning that Prince William is already the target of pressure by the Israeli Government not to refer to East Jerusalem as occupied territory. This amounts to asking a member of the Royal family not to recognise and endorse international law.

Having organised the visit, putting the Prince in an invidious position, it is now crucial that the UK government makes a clear statement condemning the killings and calling for an investigation. Palestine Solidarity Campaign continues to urge the UK government to end the bilateral arms trade with Israel; impose sanctions against Israel; and to apply meaningful pressure on Israel to end its unlawful occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, its siege on Gaza, and its apartheid practices and policies against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
We hope that during the course of his visit, the Prince will spend time meeting with civil society organisations and human rights defenders who are constantly subjected to punitive measures for their advocacy work; refugees denied their right to return and living in UNRWA camps while Israel continues its unlawful settlement expansion; and Palestinian citizens of Israel who are denied the right to full equality under a legal system that discriminates based on ethnicity.

Ben Jamal, Director of PSC said: “When the UK government sends a member of the royal family to any region in the world it is crucial their visit supports the principles of respect for human rights. If Prince William’s visit is to further this cause, it must be used to bring attention to the daily injustices meted out against Palestinians by the Israeli government and to urgent the UK government to take meaningful action against this.”
ENDS

About the Palestine Solidarity Campaign:
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign is the largest UK civil society organisation dedicated to securing Palestinian human rights established in 1982. With more than sixty branches across the country, we campaign against Israel’s flouting of international law, the continued military occupation of Palestine, and systematic discrimination against Palestinians. We work to build awareness amongst politicians and the public of the continual injustices and advocate for peaceful and just solutions that respect the rights and dignity of Palestinians and Israelis.

For further information please contact:
media@palestinecampaign.org / 07590 862268

NOTES FOR EDITORS

-2017 marked 50 years since the start of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem, and 10 years since the siege on Gaza began.

-Between 1947 and 1949, Zionist paramilitary forces ethnically cleansed and eradicated over 500 villages and cities in Palestine, displacing 750,000 Palestinians and taking over 78% of the land. Palestinians call this process the ‘Nakba’, or catastrophe.

-Today, an estimated 7 million Palestinian refugees are scattered around the world. 5 million live in refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. These refugees are denied their right of return by Israel; a right demanded by tens of thousands of Palestinians protesting in Gaza over the last four weeks.

-Israel routinely uses lethal violence against Palestinian civilians; demolishes Palestinian homes and villages; imposes apartheid policies upon Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories; colonises Palestinian land through unlawful settlement building; and imprisons both adults in children in a military detention system notorious for torture and ill-treatment.

-Israel and Egypt have imposed a heavily-secured border around the 11km-wide Gaza strip, trapping almost two million Palestinians, including 1.3 million refugees, in the tiny coastal enclave. Most are denied permission to leave and live, despite a growing humanitarian crisis that will, according to the UN, leave Gaza uninhabitable by 2020 unless the siege is lifted.

-Campaign Against the Arms Trade revealed data to the media in the last fortnight showing that Britain has approved the sale of arms to Israel worth $445m since Israel’s massive military incursion into Gaza in 2014, which killed at least 1492 civilians. See: EXCLUSIVE: UK sells $445m of arms to Israel, including sniper rifles