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4 Latin America countries condemn Israel's decision to legalise West Bank settlements

February 18, 2023 at 4:00 pm

Latin American presidents meet at the CELAC regional summit. [photo source: Twitter]

It seems that the return of the left wing in Latin America has now begun to bear fruit after expectations that President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (Lula)’s victory will lead to a profound change in the political arena in Latin America and a real threat to US hegemony in the region. Internationally, a victory for Lula has represented the latest in a series of triumphs for a resurgent left wing in Latin America following the election of leftist leaders in Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Colombia and Chile.

The Palestinian communities in Latin America were also certain that Lula´s victory would fundamentally differ from what they had endured during former President Jair Bolsonaro’s era. In a joint statement, the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico expressed their deep concern over the far-right Israeli government’s decision to legalise new outposts and construct 10,000 homes in settlements in the occupied West Bank. The four governments urged in a joint statement that these unilateral measures constitute serious violations of international law and United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions, specifically Resolution No. 2334/2016, as well as fueling current tensions.

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“Our governments express their opposition to any action that compromises the viability of the two-state solution in which Israel and Palestine can share secure and recognised borders, respecting the legitimate rights of peoples to live in peace. The governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Mexico ask to refrain from acts and provocations that could promote a new escalation of violence and to resume negotiations to reach a peaceful solution to the conflict,” the joint statement asserted.

The shift in Latin America’s attitude towards Palestine symbolises a stronger Palestinian influence in the region. People around Latin America have expressed their solidarity with Palestine and their rejection of Israel’s ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people and humanity. Latin America showed its solidarity through government statements, educational seminars and the millions of protesters demonstrating their unity with Palestine.

Chile, which is home to the largest and one of the oldest Palestinian communities outside the Arab world, with almost half a million people of Palestinian origin, has never stopped standing with the Palestinian cause, particularly following Chilean President Gabriel Boric´s victory in the elections. Day after day, Boric’s stance vis-a-vis the Palestinian cause, even after taking over the presidency, presents a major revival for Chile’s Palestinians and a new era for Chile and neighbouring countries.

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Boric even announced that his country would raise its level of representation in the Palestinian territories to an embassy in order to establish bilateral relations between Palestine and Chile, currently only represented by a charge d’affaires. Among ten Latin American countries, Chile will be the first to open an embassy in Palestine, while others only have consulates and representative offices.

Argentina also isn’t far away from Chile in supporting the Palestinian cause. With Israeli attacks ongoing in their homeland, Palestinians living in Argentina know they have a duty to defend their land, raise awareness about what is happening in Palestine and seek to present a broader and more representative depiction of their land and people.

Argentina, which recognised the State of Palestine within the 1967 borders in December 2010, has issued a joint statement as a reminder of a state policy towards ending the occupation and freeing the Palestinian State. After recognising the State of Palestine 13 years ago, Argentina has gone on to support the occupied country at international forums, voting in favour of the UN investigating human rights abuses in the Palestinian territories. The existence of Palestine and its people is felt everywhere, in all spheres of life: culture, tourism, politics, commerce, academia, sports and in the diplomacy of Argentina.

Mexico, a country that has historically always supported Palestine, has joined in the joint statement and expressed its anger towards the continuing violations against Palestinians at the hands of Israeli occupation authorities. This is not a strange step for Mexico, as last year, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard addressed the UN Security Council, where he asked for the: “Consolidation of a politically and economically viable Palestinian State.” Ebrard expressed Mexico’s stance on the matter, condemning the expansion of illegal Jewish settlements, the demolition of Palestinian structures and Israeli attacks on Gaza.

With the rise of the left wing in Latin America, the public and governmental support base for the Palestinian cause increases day by day. The wave of solidarity sweeping across Latin countries will not just be a passing phase, but solidarity activists will continue the struggle for Palestinian rights until Israel’s brutal military occupation is finally brought to an end.

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The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.