Prince William Goes Rogue: Calls for End of War in Gaza

Tolga Akmen/Pool via AP

The Prince of Wales, future King of England, waxed poetic in a social media post about the Israel-Hamas war Tuesday. Weighing in on current events is not something the Royal Family does, which commenters were quick to point out.

Prince William voiced concerns about the humanitarian crisis that has been created by the war. The subject matter of his post on X (formerly X) was a surprise. 

There is no indication he is traveling to the war zone. By emphasizing humanitarian aid, he fails to paint an accurate picture. It is one thing to talk about the "sheer scale of human suffering." It's another to weigh in on ending a war.

"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," the presumed future king of England said. "It's critical that aid gets in and hostages are released. Sometimes it is only when faced with the sheer scale of human suffering that the importance of permanent peace is brought home."

He refers to the "Hamas terrorist attack on October 7" so he does not sound as though he is a pro-Hamas radical. However, talking about permanent peace in the region is something that has eluded the area for decades. Perhaps he is gullible to the talking points of a two-state solution. That is not possible with Hamas present on Israel's border and in political control of the Gaza Strip. 

The United Kingdom is a staunch supporter of Israel. When Hamas began the war with its massacres of Israelis and others on October 7, 2023, King Charles released a statement that said he was "appalled by and condemns the barbaric acts of terrorism in Israel." 

There isn't a problem with Prince William's desire to meet with humanitarian organizations to learn what is being done to help those people in difficult situations. The controversy was over his public statement on the war in general. The Royal Family doesn't wade into politics or current events. 

Israeli officials are shocked and dismayed by William's remarks. Israel doesn't want to get into a public disagreement with him, though. The Israelis were caught off guard by his intervention in the subject. His comments were described as naive. 

That was my opinion when I read the post, too. How naive. William served in the military. After he graduated from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in 2005 he joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst as an officer cadet.

According to the royal family's official website, Prince William completed a 44-week training course before he was commissioned as an army officer in December 2006. He then joined the Household Cavalry (Blues and Royals) as a second lieutenant, commanding a troop of four Scimitar armored reconnaissance vehicles, and was promoted to the rank of lieutenant the following year.

In 2009, the prince joined the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy, pursuing a career in flying, for which he trained to be a search-and-rescue pilot and later became Flight Lieutenant Wales.

In 2010, he joined C Flight, 22 Squadron at RAF Valley in Anglesey as a search-and-rescue pilot and spent three years in the role, taking part in 156 search-and-rescue operations and undertaking a routine operational deployment to the Falkland Islands. He also became an operational captain.

William's public remarks come at a time when a vote will be held to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza in the House of Commons today. 

Last night, the UK Government put forward an amendment to counter the SNP's ceasefire motion in a move that could expose Labour splits over conflict.

The debate will be going on as thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators are expected to take part in a rally in Parliament Square on Wednesday.

William's statement risks the opinion that he is meddling in Israel's effort to defend itself. He will meet with the British Red Cross in London to discuss the humanitarian crisis. The Red Cross, though, has come under criticism since the war began for its lack of a swift and competent response to the needs of Israeli hostages in Gaza.

Downing Street described William's post as "measured."

His statement was issued with the knowledge of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and welcomed by Downing Street, which said his 'measured' call for an end to the fighting was in line with the Government's position.

Royal aides emphasised that it was the 'extent of the human suffering that is on display which had led him to make the statement he has today'.

They would not confirm whether it had the backing of the King. But father and son did meet in Norfolk at the weekend, where Charles is recuperating from cancer treatment.

Members of the Royal Family have leaned liberal at times. Charles has often been the subject of articles that show his interest in the environment and organic gardening. He has been on the climate change bandwagon, too. William and Harry also seem to lean liberal in their interests and comments. Nonetheless, Charles has continued royal traditions and his manner is stoic and non-committal as was his mother's. 

Conservatives are critical of William's action. 

Last night some Tory MPs criticised William, with suggestions that he risked undermining 'the underlying principle of our constitutional monarchy'.

Israel's government spokesman Eylon Levy issued a more diplomatic response to the Prince's intervention, saying: 'Israelis of course want to see an end to the fighting as soon as possible, and that will be possible once the 134 hostages are released, and once the Hamas terror army threatening to repeat the 7 October atrocities is dismantled.

'We appreciate the Prince of Wales' call for Hamas to free the hostages. We also recall with gratitude his statement from 11 October condemning Hamas's terror attacks and reaffirming Israel's right of self-defence against them.'

Those close to William say that he wants to better communicate how the Royal Family explains its thinking and its place in the world. The problem with that is that the Brits know the place of the family in the world and this ain't it. William seems to be having some growing pains as he eases into his responsibilities since his father took the throne. With Charles' health of concern, more of the spotlight will be on William. 

He will go to a synagogue next week to show both sides of the suffering in the war. Perhaps he should have begun there in the first place. 

Senior diplomat David Hunt accompanied William on a visit to the headquarters of the British Red Cross yesterday. It looks like he isn't being turned loose to go his way but he is under the watch of experienced officials. 

There is nothing wrong with having concern about humanitarian crises. He was careful to not go so far as to call for a ceasefire. The problem is with his opinions being published for the world to see. The Royal Family are not political leaders. That isn't their role. It is a surprising departure from the norm. William seems to have decided that the risks outweigh the benefits of speaking out. 

Many critics responded that William needs to be more like his grandmother. 

Others noted that the U.K. has its problems that the prince should concentrate on.

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