Prince William Is Visiting the Middle East. Here’s What to Know About Britain’s Controversial Role in Shaping the Region

Source: Time

By BILLY PERRIGO

When Prince William arrives in Tel Aviv on Monday for a trip that will include time in Israel and the West Bank, he will become the first-ever member of the British royal family to undertake an official visit to those places. For a region with a long history of controversial British involvement, that’s a significant milestone.

William’s spokesperson says the visit is “non-political,” in keeping with the royal family’s ceremonial constitutional role. But for people across the region, the visit will carry political undertones, not least because — alongside engagements to play soccer with schoolchildren and help refugees in the West Bank — he is scheduled to meet with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. And the visit comes at a time of increased tensions, just months after deadly clashes on the Gaza borderand President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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It is an area of the globe that cannot escape its history, a history in which Britain has played a major part. So, on the eve of what the British Foreign Office hopes will be a bridge-building tour, here is a short guide to Britain’s complicated role in the modern history of the region.

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