Prince William Calls for End to Fighting in Gaza ‘as Soon as Possible’ in Rare Statement

Prince William Calls for End to Fighting in Gaza ‘as Soon as Possible’ in Rare Statement

Prince William has called for an end to fighting between Israel and Hamas “as soon as possible” in a rare statement about the ongoing conflict.

In the statement shared by Kensington Palace on Feb. 20, the 41-year-old Prince of Wales shared his concerns about the mounting death toll. “I remain deeply concerned about the terrible human cost of the conflict in the Middle East since the Hamas terrorist attack on 7 October,” the statement said.

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Since Hamas-led militants killed some 1,200 people in Israel and took around 240 hostages on Oct. 7, Israel’s subsequent military campaign in Gaza has killed at least 29,000 Palestinians, according to the Gaza Health Ministry, and displaced 75% of the population, per UNRWA figures. Citizens in Gaza are facing extreme hunger and disease, as a result of the destruction of infrastructure, hospitals, and sanitation facilities, UNRWA says.

“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 the hostages are released,” his statement added. 

“Sometimes it is only when faced with the sheer scale of human suffering that the importance of permanent peace is brought home. 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,” he concluded. 

The Prince’s comments come after the U.S. drafted a resolution for the U.N. Security Council calling for a temporary ceasefire “as soon as practicable.” Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Labour Party has called for “an immediate humanitarian ceasefire” for the first time since the latest conflict began. 

U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has, however, been more consistent in his approach. In December Sunak called for “a sustainable ceasefire, whereby hostages are released, rockets stopped being fired into Israel by Hamas and we continue to get more aid in.” 

Read More: What to Know About the U.S. Draft Resolution Calling for a Temporary Gaza Ceasefire

The Prince is set to carry out a series of engagements to highlight the human suffering caused by the ongoing conflict in Gaza, while also addressing the rise of antisemitism.

In the coming days, William will meet with organizations providing humanitarian relief to the region, and hear firsthand from those who have provided support on the ground.

On Feb. 20, the Prince visited the British Red Cross headquarters in Central London. The humanitarian organization has been involved in aid efforts with Magen David Adom in Israel and the Palestine Red Crescent Society. Next week, he will also attend a London synagogue and speak to young people and Holocaust survivors.  

British monarchs and heirs typically avoid making public statements about political events and global conflicts. In October, William and Kate, Princess of Wales, issued their first statement on the conflict, condemning Hamas. 

“The Prince and Princess of Wales are profoundly distressed by the devastating events that have unfolded in the past days. The horrors inflicted by Hamas’s terrorist attack upon Israel are appalling; they utterly condemn them,” a spokesperson for the couple said in a statement at the time. 

“As Israel exercises its right of self-defence, all Israelis and Palestinians will continue to be stalked by grief, fear and anger in the time to come. Their Royal Highnesses hold all the victims, their families and their friends in their hearts and minds,” the statement added. 

Prince William was the first member of the royal family to have made an official visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories when he traveled there in 2018. 

During the four-day tour, he was welcomed to Jerusalem by then-Israeli President, Reuven Rivlin and the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. He also met Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and his wife Sara. 

During the trip, the Prince told Rivlin he hoped “that peace in the area can be achieved.”

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