Chilean Jews: Gov't has not recognized Palestinian state

"News originated from a report filed by a Chinese news agency based on a misinterpreted remark made by a government official."

January 7, 2011 18:14
1 minute read.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera

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

Chile has not recognized a Palestinian state contrary to recent reports on the Web, a Jewish leader in Chile told The Jerusalem Post on Friday afternoon.

Gabriel Zaliasnik, president of the Chilean Jewish community, said the news originated from a report filed by a Chinese news agency based on a misinterpreted remark made by a government official.

"The Chilean government hasn't issued any statement except for one provided before yesterday by a government official and this is the only public statement," Zaliasnik claimed. "She said that the Chilean government supports the creation of a Palestinian state, supports the dialogue between the parties and suspects that from that dialogue there will be the creation of a Palestinian state."

In the past two months, several Latin American nations with left-leaning governments including Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador have recognized a Palestinian state. Israel opposes such recognition on the grounds that it negatively impacts ongoing talks with Palestinians and that the creation of such a state should be the outcome of joint negotiations.

Chile is considered a particularly prized battleground by pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian lobby groups. If the South American country were to join in its neighbors' decisions it would be the first right-leaning government in the region to recognize Palestinian statehood and could cause governments with similar political leanings in Peru, Colombia and Mexico to follow suit.

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera Echenique, who is expected to visit Israel and the Palestinian territories in February, is currently said to be mulling his country's decision on the matter.

"In our system, the foreign affairs are the direct responsibility of the president," Zalianakis explained. "You can give suggestions but the decision is his, so the Chilean Senate has acknowledged the need of advancing dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians,"but the decision is Echenique's.

While the expected visit in February will be the first ever to the area by a serving Chilean president, Zalianakis said Echenique has visited Israel several times before and is familiar with the story of the Jewish people. The exact timing of his arrival to Israel is still dependent on the ongoing foreign ministry officials' strike.

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