Thirty-six-year-old Gabriel Boric, the youngest Chilean president ever to have been elected, has announced yesterday that his country will raise the level of its representation in the Palestinian territories to an embassy in order to establish bilateral relations between Palestine and Chile that are currently only represented by a the charge d'affaires. Among 10 Latin American countries, Chile will be the first country to open an embassy in Palestine while others have consulates and representative offices only
"We are going to elevate the character of our official representation in Palestine as chargé d'affaires today, we are going to open an embassy in our government to give it the representation that corresponds," the Chilean president explained .
The president also regretted that Palestine isn't appear on the map, "It always violates me a lot to look at the Middle East and not see Palestine on Google map," he said, but that Palestinians are "a people who exist, who resist, who have a history."
The Chilean President speaks at a Christmas celebration with the Palestinian community in Santiago, December 2022. (Source: Palestinian community in Chile: MEMO)
Boric made the announcement in a speech during the Christmas celebration with the Palestinian community in Santiago. The president has participated in lighting ceremony of the Christmas tree at the Palestinian Club where he showed his support for the Palestinians rights.
"Today, being here at the Palestinian Club, we cannot forget a community that suffers from an illegal occupation, resists, sees its rights and dignity are violated every day. This absolutely must be said with all its letters", he added.
The celebration was held at the Palestinian Club in the Las Condes commune of Chile located in Santiago Province. It was attended by members of the community, as well as various authorities such as First Lady Irina Karamanos, Minister Ana Lya Uriarte, Deputy Jorge Alessandri (UDI), Deputy Helia Molina (PPD), former Senator Marcela Sabat, former Minister Isabel Plá, and the former national prosecutor Sabas Chahuán and numbers from the Palestinians and Chilean community in Chile.
Boric's decision to raise the status of diplomatic representation in Palestine puts Palestine in an advanced position at the foreign policy and make a great respect to the Palestinian territories which are majority controlled by Israel. The decision was warmly received by the Palestinian community in Chile who's rushed to commend Boric´s decision via a statement signed by its president, Maurice Khamis Massu.
The statement expressed: "As Chilean of Palestinian origin, we thank our country for this message of hope to a people who lives under a brutal occupation, flagrant war crimes, settlements, and an apartheid regime. This is a concrete act of support for the right to self-determination of the Palestinian People in full accordance with International Laws"
"Who could oppose a measure like this? Only those who oppose the establishment of a Palestinian State, a basic principle to all Palestinians in the occupied land. Whoever opposes a measure like this, opposes strictly a just and lasting peace in the region"
In an interview with MEMO, Massu comments on Boric´s decision, "as a Community, we appreciate President Boric's conviction and his undeniable commitment to International Law and Human Rights. In addition, we deeply appreciate the historic gesture of raising the level of representation of Chile in the State of Palestine from a representative office to an embassy."
He adds, "Chile has always shown this support since the first immigrants were arrived from Palestine in the late nineteenth century,"
According to Maher Pichara, the executive Director of the Palestinian community in Chile, the president Gabriel Boric "was a quite clear that good words are not enough and we must move on! The president recognizes the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people through raising relations between Palestine and Chile to the highest diplomatic level against what Israel always tries to show the international doings as a pending debt"
" The president of Chile continues supporting him Chilean-Palestinian relations in a way that makes a great percentage among its population, a half million Chileans of Palestinian origin, feel a proud " , Pichara told MEMO. He completes, "we hope this step have a domino effect with the other States from Latin America and around the world to raise their diplomatic representations with Palestine"
Chile is home to the largest — and one of the oldest — Palestinian communities outside the Arab world. Almost half a million people of Palestinian origin live there, out of a total population of 18 million. Day after day, Boric's stance toward the Palestinian cause, even after he takes over the presidency, presents a major revival for Chile's Palestinians and a new era for Chile and neighboring countries.