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Chile excludes Israeli companies from top aerospace fair due to offensive in Gaza

March 6, 2024 at 12:32 pm

Chile’s President Gabriel Boric speaks at the 78th session of the UN General Assembly in September 2023 [UN]

The Chilean government of President Gabriel Boric has announced that Israeli companies will not participate in the 2024 International Air and Space Fair (FIDAE). The event is organised by the Chilean Air Force, and is scheduled to take place between 9 and 14 April. It is regarded as the main aerospace and defence fair in Latin America and brings together exhibitors from more than 40 countries.

The defence ministry statement confirmed that no Israeli companies will be among the exhibitors. Defence Minister Maya Fernández announced that the measure was adopted by the government but did not provide further details. However, it seems that the Israeli attack on Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid may have led Chile to take this decision.

Moreover, the foreign ministry in Santiago has reaffirmed its call for an immediate ceasefire: “The humanitarian disaster resulting from Israeli military operations confirms the need for an immediate ceasefire in the area… The Government of Chile calls on the international community to recognise the State of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations Organisation.”

According to Senator and former chancellor José Miguel Insulza, the decision to exclude Israeli companies from the aerospace fair “saves the government from a problem and domestic difficulties that would have been complicated for FIDAE.”

The president of the interparliamentary friendship group between Chile and Israel described the decision as a mistake in its international relations. “Today the Chilean government politicises an activity that clearly has another purpose. It shows tremendous disregard for the fact that the Chilean Air Force has maintained very close relations with the government of Israel regarding training and innovation for years.”

Nevertheless, many parliamentarians and political figures praised Boric’s decision. Senator Juan Ignacio Latorre, for example, described the government’s decision to exclude Israeli companies from FIDAE as “brave” and “a gesture of solidarity with the Palestinian people.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Gonzalo Winter said on X: “Correct decision by our government. Companies from Israel will not participate in the next FIDAE. There is no room for complicity with the massacre [of Palestinians].”

The Palestinian Community of Chile, which is believed to be the largest outside the Arab world, appreciated the government’s decision. “We express our sincere gratitude to the government of Chile and the organisers of the International Air and Space Fair (FIDAE) for their decision to align the policies of the event with the principles of justice and respect for human rights and international humanitarian law.”

Chile’s position, added the community organisation, “is a positive step towards constructive influence on the behaviour of nations on the international stage, promoting accountability and compliance with international law.”

President Boric’s government has condemned the bombings carried out by the Israel occupation forces against the Palestinian in the Gaza Strip, which amounted to “collective punishment” of the Strip’s civilian population. “Chile strongly condemns and observes with great concern… these military operations,” said the foreign ministry.

Chile also accused Israel of “systematic violations of international law” as state policy and insisted that the occupation state “has an obligation to put an end to these violations, and offer comprehensive reparations as well as appropriate guarantees about non-repetition.”

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