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Chile recognizes Palestinian statehood

Chile officially recognized the State of Palestine today, Jan.7, making it the fifth South American nation to do so as a result of the Palestinian Authority’s recent campaigning in the region.

Chile is the latest Latin American nation to recognize Palestinian statehood, after weeks of intense lobbying efforts by Palestinian diplomats and the Palestinian community in Chile — the largest outside the Middle East — and equally strong pressure from Israeli diplomats and the local Jewish community.

Last month, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Ecuador unilaterally recognized the Palestinian State in the territories occupied by Israel during the Six Day War in 1967. Uruguay announced it would follow suit early this year.

In an apparent attempt to appease both sides, the government announced its decision to “grant recognition to the existence of the State of Palestine as a free, independent and sovereign State,” but stopped short of explicitly mentioning whether it was recognizing the state with its 1967 borders, as the PNA has been requesting.

“The State of Chile,” said the government statement, “has permanently and consistently supported the right of the Palestinian people to constitute as an independent State, coexisting in peace with the State of Israel. It has also fully supported the right of the State of Israel to exist within safe and internationally recognized borders.”

The Foreign Ministry also expressed the government’s acknowledgement to the Jewish and Palestinian communities in Chile, “for their valuable contribution to the country’s social, cultural, political and economic development over many decades and their full integration to our society. Their fraternal coexistence has clearly been an example of good relations, which we hope will serve as an inspiration for the States of Israel and Palestine.”

President Sebastian Pinera will visit Israel and Palestine in early March, said the statement.