Prince William arrives in Tel Aviv after recent violence at Gaza border

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After sampling Jordan’s hospitality, Prince William has flown to Tel Aviv, beginning his visit to Israel.

Let the complex diplomacy begin.

As the first British royal to officially visit Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, he’s embarking on a visit that for decades has been delayed because of the ongoing violence.

Only last month, fighting between Israelis and Palestinians along the Gaza Strip brought a renewed international focus to the conflict.

:: Prince William visits Jordan ruins where wife Kate was pictured as a child

William at the Princess Taghrid Institute for Development and Training in Jordan Prince William arrives in Tel Aviv after recent violence at Gaza border Prince William arrives in Tel Aviv after recent violence at Gaza border skynews prince william jordan 4345552
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William at the Princess Taghrid Institute for Development and Training in Jordan

So why send Prince William now?

No one will give a direct answer. The Foreign Office tells us it’s a visit that’s been a long time in the planning – a chance to celebrate the strength of our friendships with Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians.

The government’s view is clear on the peace process – Britain supports a two-state solution.

Royal trips are special. The foreign office wouldn’t want to show favouritism to either side.

But away from the official government line, conversations I’ve had suggest there are other reasons for dispatching the second in line to the throne on this landmark visit.

Prince William apparently wanted to visit and this was as good a time as any, despite the recent fighting.

In an area where the conflict shows little sign of being resolved, the foreign office could always find reasons not to send him.



Prince William and Jordan's Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II review the honour guard in Amman Prince William arrives in Tel Aviv after recent violence at Gaza border Prince William arrives in Tel Aviv after recent violence at Gaza border skynews prince william jordan 4344615




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Prince William on diplomatically sensitive tour

There’s also a view that it was time to tick this area off the list of “no go” places for our Royal Family, to allow more dialogue in the future.

This region is central to Britain’s global Britain mantra as we look for post-Brexit trade deals.

It’s also important not to underestimate the attention these visits attract.

The Duchess of Cambridge may not be travelling with him but even without his wife, Prince William attracts his fair share of media attention.

Even though it’s not his role to get involved in the politics, some would argue his presence will draw the spotlight back onto the struggle between Israelis and Palestinians, after other events in the Middle East like the Arab Spring and the Syrian refugee crisis have drawn attention away.

Prince William leaves Luminus Technical University College in Amman, Jordan Prince William arrives in Tel Aviv after recent violence at Gaza border Prince William arrives in Tel Aviv after recent violence at Gaza border skynews prince william jordan 4345551
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Prince William leaves Luminus Technical University College in Amman, Jordan

This is a chance for William to shine a light on the aspirations of young people on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide.

Over the coming days, William will tread carefully. The programme divides his time equally between both sides as he travels around Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Ramallah.

On this visit, the prince has already given the impression that we can expect to hear him talking about sport a lot in the coming days.

The international language of football could be his saving grace.



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