Chile shows bravery with Palestine embassy plan – It is a courageous move amid Western pressure campaigns to lower the representation of sovereign countries in occupied Palestine.
But Boric has said that his government’s decision “is to respect international law.”
Chile’s President made the remarks in a private ceremony with a delegation representing the Palestinian diaspora in the capital Santiago and the country.
The Leftist leader has repeatedly expressed support for the Palestinian people’s demand for an independent state.
He said “I think we didn’t make it public. I’m taking a risk with this (the announcement) but we’re going to upgrade Chile’s official representation in Palestine from the business manager we have today to an embassy we will open during our term to give (Chile) the representation it deserves and be present in all the (diplomatic) spaces (in the occupied Palestinian territories).”
Boric’s latest remarks in support of the Palestinian cause came after diplomatic tensions with Israel when the Chilean leader suspended a meeting to accept the recently appointed Israeli ambassador to the South American country.
At the time, the Chilean Presidential office said this was in response to the murder of a Palestinian teenager on September 15 by Israeli forces. Israel condemned the decision, saying it “seriously” harmed bilateral ties.
In 2017, former U.S. President Donald Trump drew the ire of Palestinians and the international community when he recognized Israel’s claim to al-Quds (Jerusalem) and, a year later, moved the U.S. embassy from the settlement of Tel Aviv to the holy city.
Trump, a staunch Israel supporter, also shut down a U.S. consulate in occupied East al-Quds which, for years, had served as the de facto embassy for Palestinians.
While Trump’s successor Joe Biden promised to reopen the consulate, his administration (similar to many other measures taken by Trump) has yet to do so amid opposition from Israeli officials.
Biden has kept the U.S. embassy in the city of al-Quds as well; in more measures undertaken by his predecessor that he had pledged to overturn when running for President but has failed to do so.
Boric told the Palestinian delegation that their community in Chile can count on him as a friend saying “something basic and simple that today is not being followed is to respect international law. From this deep conviction, be aware that you can count on a friend here, that I respect your traditions and, please, don’t misunderstand this but we take these actions with love and, in my case, the acknowledgment of the dignity of the people, which is what’s appropriate.”
The comments drew applause from the attendees.
During the meeting, the President of the Palestinian community in Chile, Maurice Khamis told the leftist leader “we are sibling countries and peoples. Let’s hope this star keeps lighting our path to peace, justice, freedom, and a way back to social justice and a fairer world.”
Boric’s announcement came at the annual Christmas tree lighting event attended by members of the Palestinian community in the Andean country.
Santiago says that during Boric’s term in office, his government will upgrade the current diplomatic mission to give Chile the representation it deserves with an embassy.
During his speech at September’s UN Assembly, Boric displayed his support for the Palestinian people when he told the international community not to normalize Israeli abuses and human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territories.
While there is widespread support among Latin American nations for Palestine, Chile’s plans to open an embassy in the Palestinian territories will make the Andean country one of only a handful to have an embassy-level office in the occupied West Bank and is expected to draw anger from Israeli authorities.
However, experts say the move could encourage others in Latin America to follow suit.
Chilean Foreign Minister Antonia Urrejola confirmed the plan but said there was no timeline in place as of yet.
While Boric said the proposed embassy in the occupied Palestinian territories was also meant to give Palestinians the representation they deserve, he did not specify the exact location of the embassy.
The announcement by Boric, who assumed his four-year term in March 2022, will boost the level of the country’s current “official representation” in Palestine to an embassy.
The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates strongly praised the move, saying it affirms the principled position of Chile and its president in support of international law and the right of the Palestinian people to re-establish their independent state.
Chile has the largest Palestinian population outside of the West Asia region, estimated at more than 300,000, and has a major soccer club called Palestino founded following the founding of the Israeli entity and is now watched by thousands of fans in Chile and Palestine.
In 1998, Chile opened a representative office to Palestine in Ramallah, and in 2011 recognized Palestine as a state and supported its entrance to UNESCO.
The announcement comes at a time when the occupied West Bank is experiencing some of the worst levels of violence in more than a decade this year, much of it concentrated around Jenin and the nearby city of Nablus.
Israeli forces have murdered at least 150 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank while more than 20 Israeli settlers have died in retaliatory operations in both the occupied West Bank and the occupied Palestinian territories.
Israeli forces on Thursday murdered another Palestinian during one of its now near daily night-time raids near a flashpoint site, underlining the continuing violence in the occupied West Bank.
On Friday, three regime forces were wounded and a Palestinian was killed in a retaliatory operation.
According to local sources, five Palestinians have also sustained injuries in an attack by Israeli settlers on Palestinian vehicles in the town of Huwwara, which is to the south of Nablus.
Palestinian activists who document settler violence say a group of Israeli settlers hurled rocks at vehicles and sprayed Palestinian passengers with pepper gas in the town, injuring five of them and causing damage to the town’s vehicles.
The injured were treated nearby by local medics as the town is under Israeli military occupation.
Israeli settler violence against Palestinians and their property is commonplace in the occupied West Bank and has almost never been prosecuted by Israeli authorities.
This violence is expected to increase with the incoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s incoming cabinet.
There are more than 600,000 Israeli settlers illegally occupying portions of the West Bank in violation of international law and established norms prohibiting the relocation of the occupying power’s civil population to the land of the occupied.
This is also expected to rise as Netanyahu has secured a coalition with extremist Zionist and far-right extremist partners who oppose Palestinian statehood and want to strongly expand Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
This is in violation of international law and goes against multiple UN resolutions.
During his term in Chile’s parliament, Boric supported a bill that proposed the boycotting of Israeli goods from the territories occupied by Israel since 1967, including the holy city of al-Quds.
Palestinian immigration to Chile began in the late 19th century, with waves coming after the Nakba (an Arabic word meaning “catastrophe” and refers to the start of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1948), when Israel was created following Britain’s Balfour declaration in 1917.
What followed was waves of migrants from Europe and the United States that set up settler units in the occupied Palestinian territories.