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  • Palestinians in Chile, the largest Palestinian population outside of the Arab world, have been active in criticizing Israel and its policies.

    Palestinians in Chile, the largest Palestinian population outside of the Arab world, have been active in criticizing Israel and its policies. | Photo: Reuters

Palestinians denounce the Chilean ambassador’s comments that they “incite violence” by protesting against Israeli events in the country. 

The Palestinian Federation of Chile, or FPC, officially requested Thursday that Israel's Ambassador to Chile, Rafi Eldad, be labeled a persona non grata after he made false statements about the community, according to reports by the Jerusalem Post.

The newspaper alleges that tensions between the Palestinian and Israeli community have been on the rise in Chile in recent weeks since Palestinians in the South American country began protesting the recent spike in violence in the occupied territories.

The FPC, which represents people of Palestinian heritage in Chile, submitted the request to the Chilean Foreign Ministry to shun the ambassador after Eldad accused the Palestinian community of inciting violence and trying to muzzle Israel's diplomatic efforts in Chile.

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The main causes for concern, Eldad told the Jerusalem Post, were Palestinians protesting events being carried out at the Israeli embassy and spreading messages on social media condemning the recent violence toward Palestinians. These events lead Eldad to claim that “the tension could escalate to physical violence.”

The Palestinian organization called Eldad's comments “slanderous,” saying they hindered their ability “to defend the Palestinian people.”

“We completely reject the recent claims made by Ambassador Eldad, who said that our federation has been systematically sowing dissension and inciting to hatred between the Palestinian and Jewish communities,” the federation wrote in a letter sent to the Foreign Ministry, reported the Post. “This is a well-known tactic aimed at deflecting any criticism of Israel and its murderous policies.”

At least 60 Palestinians and 11 Israeli officials have been killed in the occupied territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the past month, while tensions in the region remain high.

The recent spate of clashes erupted after Israeli officials banned Palestinians from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City, which is considered one of Islam's holiest sites.

Chile is home to some 300,000 Palestinians, making it the largest community of Palestinians outside of the Arab world. According to the Post, relations between Palestinians and Jews in Chile have become strained in recent years: times of crisis in the Middle East region.

Among the Palestinian federation's recent lobbying activity include denouncing the Chilean government for recently welcoming to the country the Israeli Commander in Chief General Humberto Oviedo, the head of the Israeli ground forces. The FPC said in a statement on its website that the general was received by both Chilean military officials as well as Israeli officials.

According to the FPC, these type of actions are totally rejected by the peace movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, what is says is meant to isolate Israel economically, politically and culturally as long as it continues to violate international law.

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