Prince Charles arrives in Bethlehem for historic Palestine visit

Prince Charles arrives in Bethlehem for historic Palestine visit
Prince Charles visited several important sites in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, located in the occupied West Bank.
2 min read
24 January, 2020
Prince Charles tours the Palestinian city of Bethlehem [Getty]
The United Kingdom's Prince Charles arrived in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem on Friday for a historic visit.

The Prince of Wales visited Manger Square and entered the Omar Mosque, Wafa news agency reported.

He was accompanied by the Minister of Tourism and Antiquities Roula Maayah, Palestinian ambassador to the UK Hussam Zomlot, Bethlehem Governor Kamel Hmeid, Bethlehem Mayor Anton Salman and a number of other dignitaries.

Prince Charles also visited the Church of Nativity, where Christians believe Jesus was born.

In the mosque of Omar, Prince Charles signed his name in the guest book in Arabic, the Royal Editor for ITV News shared on Twitter.

The royal will meet with President Mahmoud Abbas at the Presidential Headquarters in Bethlehem later on Friday, Palestinian media reported.

While Bethlehem is in the Palestinian-administered area of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, Israel's imposing separation barrier encloses parts of the city and is a constant reminder of the complex political reality.

Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace dismissed suggestions that Prince Charles deliberately ignored US Vice President Mike Pence at a Holocaust memorial ceremony in Jerusalem on Thursday, saying the two had a "warm and friendly chat" before the event. 

A video, which was circulating widely on social media, shows the prince chatting with various dignitaries at the ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial centre in Jerusalem. 

Charles, 71, then approaches Pence, briefly looks at him, but moves on without shaking the US vice president's hand and greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

"Shortly before the Yad Vashem memorial event began, the prince and Vice President Pence had a warm and friendly chat, which is why they did not greet each other again in the room," said a statement from the office of the Prince of Wales said.

In his address to the ceremony, where more than 40 heads of state and government were marking 75 years since the liberation of the Nazi death camp Auschwitz, Prince Charles warned that "the lessons of the Holocaust are still relevant to this day".

Prince Charles also met with Israel's President Reuven Rivlin Thursday ahead of the Holocaust commemoration.

"It starts with the Jewish people but we never know where it ends. Everyone needs to be very careful," Rivlin told the British royal, according to the Press Association.

Read more: What Prince Charles won't see when he visits Israel

"We are still expecting your mother to come," Rivlin added.

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, is making his first official tour of Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, and is the most senior royal to have visited.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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