Chile’s leftist president rejects Israel’s ambassador


Left-wing Chilean President Gabriel Boric triggered a major diplomatic crisis on Thursday by refusing to accept the credentials of Israel’s new ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli.

Chilean media reported that Boric refused to receive Artzyeli at the presidential residence, Palacio de la Moneda, for an official introduction ceremony. Artzyeli was actually at the palace with his credentials in hand when he was told by Chilean Foreign Minister Antonia Urrejola that Boric would not be seeing him.

Chilean officials first presented the snub as retaliation against Israel for the death of a 17-year-old Palestinian during a raid that morning on the outskirts of Jenin. The raid was triggered when two other Palestinian men allegedly killed an Israeli soldier in a gun and bomb attack on a military checkpoint.

Chile’s foreign ministry seemed to back down a little under the pressure, clarifying later Thursday that Artyzeli’s introductory meeting with Boric had simply been postponed until October because “today is a very sensitive day due to the death of a miner in the Gaza Strip”.

“Regarding the reason for the cancellation of the appointment, the death of a minor in the West Bank, in the Middle East, there is a conflict that has lasted for 100 years, and there are victims on both sides. The new Middle East is in an era of peace”, Artzyeli told reporters.

“For me, it was a rather embarrassing incident this morning, but being an Israeli and a Jew, my people have been through worse in the past 4,000 years,” he said.

According to Artzyeli, he had a “long meeting of over an hour” on Thursday, during which Urrejola “has repeatedly apologized to me and to the State of Israel” for Boric’s behavior.

“For me, it was a rather embarrassing incident this morning, but being an Israeli and a Jew, my people have been through worse in the past 4,000 years,” the Israeli ambassador said.

Ha’aretz noted that Boric’s snub to Artzyeli was particularly mean-spirited because the new Israeli ambassador made an “unusual gesture” on Tuesday in congratulating Chile and the Palestinian Authority on signing an agricultural agreement.

Artzyeli generously hailed the deal as a “positive step” towards “progress, prosperity and human development”. Israel’s Foreign Ministry felt compelled to temper its exuberance a bit by noting that the agreement Artzyeli endorsed referred to the “State of Palestine”, but the Israeli government official does not recognize such a “State of Palestine”. “.

“We support economic actions that benefit the Palestinian people, but this in no way implies our recognition of a Palestinian state. The fact that you quote something labeled by the Chilean authorities does not mean that you automatically support it,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry on Friday called Chile’s behavior “puzzling and unprecedented,” and summoned Chilean Ambassador Jorge Carvajal for a reprimand.

“This seriously damages relations between the two countries,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.

Chile’s Jewish community, which has been nervous since Boric’s fiercely anti-Israel election last year, criticized the president for creating a “serious diplomatic incident”.

“It is an offense to the friendship of more than 70 years between Chile and Israel. We are awaiting a rectification,” statesment of the community said Thursday.

The American Jewish Committee called Boric’s actions constitute a “breach of diplomatic protocol” and demanded his immediate apology, lest he cause “irreparable harm to the Chile-Israel relationship” and “his country’s global reputation”.

“President Boric is boycotting bilateral relations, improvising a decision when the ambassador was at the Ministry of External Relations. Situations like these demonstrate a deep disregard for the more than 70 years of friendship between Chile and Israel,” the 21 members of a Chile-Israel interparliamentary group said in a letter Friday.

Chilean opposition politicians said Boric caused a “very serious” incident by violating diplomatic protocol for “political reasons”.

“There is now a huge turmoil in the government and the foreign ministry, we have to see how to solve this problem,” an unnamed Chilean diplomat told local reporters.

Boric’s snub to the Israeli ambassador was not without its supporters, as the Palestinian Authority and Hamas rented its actions on Friday.

“We welcome the position of the Chilean president, which is in line with international law and resolutions, and we appreciate this position aimed at putting pressure on the Israeli government to end its daily crimes against our people,” said one. Advisor to the Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs. .




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