Prince William urges an end to fighting in Gaza 'as soon as possible'

UPI
In an unprecedented intervention in the Gaza conflict, Britain's Prince William, the heir to the throne, called Tuesday for the fighting to be halted as quickly as possible. Photo by Rune Hellestad/UPI
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Feb. 20 (UPI) -- In an unprecedented intervention in the Gaza conflict, Britain's Prince William, the heir to the throne, called Tuesday for hostilities to be halted at the earliest opportunity.

"I remain deeply concerned about the terrible human cost of the conflict in the Middle East since the Hamas terrorist attack on Oct. 7," he said in a statement, adding that "too many have been killed."

"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," said William, the prince of Wales.

"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," William wrote ahead of a series of upcoming engagements in London at which he will hear about the work of humanitarian agencies in Gaza and a spike in anti-Semitism sparked by the war.

The royal family is traditionally apolitical in line with the dictates of constitutional monarchy, but William's outspoken comments eclipse those he and Kate, princess of Wales, made following Oct. 7 "utterly condemning" Hamas's attack in which they spoke of "profound distress" at the "devastating" violence.

William's latest comments come as he is fulfilling a pivotal role in the monarchy standing in for his 75-year-old father, King Charles, who has stepped back from frontline royal duties to get treatment for a cancer diagnosed in February.

His statement echoes a plea by Charles in October for tolerance and understanding between different faiths and cultures in which he talked of "heartbreaking loss of life" in Gaza and Israel.

In his Christmas Day message to the nation he said that "tragic" conflicts were time for universal religious values to be applied.

In 2020, Charles became the most senior member of the monarchy to visit Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories.