Prince William concerned at ‘terrible human cost’ of Middle East conflict

Prince William concerned at ‘terrible human cost’ of Middle East conflict
Prince William concerned at ‘terrible human cost’ of Middle East conflict

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Britain’s Prince William, Prince of Wales reacts during a visit to the British Red Cross’ headquarters in London on February 20, 2024. — AFP pic

LONDON, Feb 20 — Heir to the British throne Prince William today released a rare statement on the Israel-Hamas conflict, underlining his concern at the “terrible human cost”.

William made the comments ahead of visits in London this week to recognise the human suffering caused by the war and the global rise in antisemitism.

He is to meet humanitarian aid workers and separately join a synagogue discussion with young people from different communities about antisemitism.

The royal family does not usually comment on international conflicts.

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William’s father King Charles III is the head of state of the United Kingdom as well as 14 other Commonwealth countries, from Canada to Australia and Jamaica.

His functions are essentially ceremonial and he is not supposed to intervene in political debate.

“I, like so many others, want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible,” said William, also known as the Prince of Wales.

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“There is a desperate need for increased humanitarian support to Gaza. It’s critical that aid gets in and the hostages are released,” he added.

More than four months of relentless fighting in Gaza have flattened much of the coastal territory, pushed 2.2 million people to the brink of famine and displaced three-quarters of the population, according to UN estimates.

The war started when Hamas launched its unprecedented attack on October 7 that resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli figures.

Hamas also took about 250 hostages — 130 of whom remain in Gaza, including 30 presumed dead, according to Israel.

Israel’s assault on Gaza has killed more than 29,000 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

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

“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 said. — AFP

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