Chile announces plan to open embassy in occupied Palestinian territory

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To give Palestinians representation and respect under international law, Chilean President, Gabriel Boric has announced plans to open an embassy in the occupied territories.

Chile’s foreign minister, Antonia Urrejola, confirmed the plan on Thursday but said there was no timeline in place yet and that Chile continues to recognise both Palestine and Israel as legitimate states.

Boric, a left-wing politician and former student activist who took office in March, had announced the decision on Wednesday evening during a private ceremony in the Chilean capital, Santiago, hosted by the city’s large Palestinian community.

“I am taking a risk [saying] this,” he said at the ceremony. “We are going to raise our official representation in Palestine from having a charge d’affaires. Now we are going to open an embassy.”

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported on Thursday that the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates “strongly commended the move”.

The decision, the ministry said, “affirms the principled position of Chile and its president in support of international law and the right of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state”.

Chile’s Palestinian community is estimated to include more than 300,000 people, many of whom come from families originally from the Bethlehem area of the West Bank, including the villages of Beit Jala and Beit Sahour.

On Wednesday, Boric said the proposed embassy in the occupied Palestinian territories also was meant to give Palestinians the representation they deserve. He did not specify where exactly the embassy would be located.

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In 1998, Chile opened a representative office to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank city of Ramallah. And in 2011, the country also recognised Palestine as a state and supported its entrance into UNESCO.

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