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Chile president says he is planning to open embassy in Palestine

Chile's President Gabriel Boric (Photo by Reuters)

Chilean President Gabriel Boric, whose country has the largest Palestinian population outside of the Middle East, has announced that he will raise the level of state representation in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories to an embassy. 

The leftist president broke the news at a Christmas ceremony in the capital Santiago for Chile’s Palestinian community, which is estimated to be more than 300,000 strong.

“One of the decisions we have taken as a government, I think we have not yet made it public... is that we will raise the level of our official representation in Palestine,” Boric said. “We will open an embassy under our government.”

During the ceremony, he also stressed that Palestinians are “a people who exist, who resist, who have a history.”

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Boric’s announcement comes as Chile opened a representative office to the Palestinian Authority in the central West Bank city of Ramallah in April 1998, and recognized Palestine as a state and supported its entrance to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 2011. Palestine has an embassy in Santiago.

As a lawmaker, Boric supported a bill proposing to boycott Israeli goods from the Syrian Golan Heights, illegal West Bank settlements and areas of al-Quds that the Israeli regime seized during the Six Day War in 1967.

Palestinians began immigrating to Chile in large numbers during the 20th century.

They are mainly concentrated in the trade and textile industries, and Chileans of Palestinian descent have also been involved in the country’s politics.

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Club Deportivo Palestino is a professional football club based in Santiago. It was founded by Arab immigrants in the 1920s, and thousands of fans in the Palestinian territories watch their matches on television.

Palestinians in Chile have repeatedly organized huge demonstrations to protest against the operations of the Israeli military in the occupied Palestinian territories.

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