Palestinians blast British PM Cameron's 'symbolic' Bethlehem visit
During a two-day Holy Land visit, the British PM will spend only three hours in the Palestinian territories, and the rest of the time in Israel.
As British Prime Minister David Cameron gets ready to board a plane to the Holy Land, he is facing criticism for leaving the Palestinians as an "afterthought" on his upcoming trip.
The British leader is due to arrive for the two-day visit - his first here as prime minister - on Wednesday, and is scheduled to spend only three hours in total in the Palestinian territories, the U.K.'s Independent newspaper reported.
Following a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and giving a Knesset speech on Thursday, Cameron will forgo a visit to Ramallah, where the Palestinian Authority is based. He will meet President Mahmoud Abbas in Bethlehem instead.
On Wednesday, he will meet with President Shimon Peres, as well as visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.
“If someone wants to visit Israel, they should visit Israel,” The Independent cited Hanan Ashrawi, Palestine Liberation Organisation spokeswoman, as saying.
“There is no reason to have as an afterthought a symbolic visit to Palestine. This shows the imbalance in the whole situation.”
One British official told the newspaper that Cameron "would like to do more, but he will only be there for 24 hours."
Meanwhile, deputy commissioner on foreign relations for Fatah, Abdullah Abdullah, said Britain should take responsibility for the role it played in the adoption of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, in which Britain pledged the establishment of a Jewish "national home" in Palestine. “Morally we say they have a responsibility to undo what they did to the Palestinians,” The Independent cited him as saying.
Talks between Netanyahu and Cameron will deal with the U.K.-Israel relationship, Iran's nuclear program and the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, according to an Israeli official.
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