When Brazil recognized Palestinian statehood in early December, Chile was ready to follow suit immediately, sources said. However, an important meeting between Chilean President Sebastian Pinera and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar – who is a friend of Israel and happened to be visiting Chile at the time – combined with pressure from the local Jewish community and two late-night phone calls from Prime Ministerto Pinera, managed to postpone the planned proclamation.
“It was a miracle it took so long for the proclamation to come out,” Zaliasnik said.
“We decided to fight the core issues: No to any reference to final-status boundaries on the Green Line or 1967 borders; that Palestinians had to negotiate directly with Israel; and third, that any Chilean statement explicitly recognize the right of Israel to live in secure borders. That’s what we were fighting for.”
And what now?
The next battleground between pro-Israel and pro- Palestinian groups over Latin American recognition of Palestinian statehood will be in Lima, Peru, where the third Latin American-Arab summit will be held in February.
“I feel Colombia won’t recognize Palestinian statehood,” Zaliasnik opined. “I read the quotes of the Colombian foreign minister in Bogota on the issue. My feeling is that Mexico could feel like it has to follow us, but they don’t have a Palestinian lobby. Peru doesn’t have a Palestinian lobby either, but they are hosting an Arab League summit, so it may affect Peruvian President Alan Garcia. Of the three, Peru is the most vulnerable.”