Chile announces recognition of Palestinian statehood

After day of conflicting reports, Chile says it acknowledges "free, independent, sovereign state, coexisting in peace with Israel."

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
January 7, 2011 19:52
1 minute read.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera 311 AP. (photo credit: AP)

 
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After a day of conflicting reports, Chile joined a growing number of Latin American nations on Friday night officially recognizing Palestinian statehood.

"Chile has recognized the Palestinian state as a free, independent and sovereign state," Chilean President Sebastián Piñera announced. "In this way we contribute to that end may exist in the Middle East, a Palestinian state and a state of Israel that can live in peace and prosperity and recognized frontiers with secure borders."

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While the proclamation was nuanced stressing Israel's right to security, it is considered a stinging defeat for Jerusalem which argues the creation of a Palestinian state should only be part of a comprehensive peace agreement.
  
Over the past few weeks pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian lobby groups have been battling to influence Santiago's decision regarding Palestinian statehood. Leaders of Chile's Palestinian community, which numbers 400,000 people and is the largest on the continent, declared their support for the Palestinian cause while leaders of Chile's 10,000-strong Jewish community lobbied on behalf of Israel.

Despite the outcome, Gabriel Zaliasnik, president of Chile's Jewish community, said he was "satisfied" with the wording of the proclamation because it did not refer to borders.

"Israelis and Palestinians will eventually define all the core issues like borders," he said. 'For the Jewish people, Jerusalem and borders of the state of Israel can not be provided to third parties."

Unlike the five previous Latin American countries which have recognized a Palestinian state in the past three months, including Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia and Ecuador, Chile has a right-leaning government whose politics are not necessarily critical of the U.S., and by extension, of Israel. Some believe Chile's decision may pave the way for other right-leaning governments in the area like Colombia, Mexico and Peru to recognize a Palestinian state.


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