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
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
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.