Last week five South American countries pulled their diplomats out of Gaza including: Chile, Peru, El Salvador, Ecuador, and Brazil.
A photo of Israel’s operation in Gaza. Photo courtesy of naharnet.com
To protest Israel’s operation in the Gaza strip five South American countries pulled their ambassadors out of Israel this week. The spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Yigal Palmor, said recalling ambassadors encourages Hamas.
“Israel expresses its deep disappointment with the hasty decision of the governments of El Salvador, Peru and Chile to recall their ambassadors for consultations,” said Palmor. “This step constitutes encouragement for Hamas, a group recognized as a terror organization by many countries around the world.”
Palmor believes these countries are handing terrorists a prize.
“Israel expects countries that oppose terrorism to act responsibly and not to hand terrorists a prize,” he said. “So far, every time Israel accepted plans for establishing a cease-fire and restoring calm, it was countered by Hamas’s sustained rocket fire. El Salvador, Chile and Peru would have been much better advised to promote the international move intended to assist Israel in its efforts to defend innocent civilians and instate a durable cease-fire with the demilitarization of Gaza.”
Jorge Montero, the Chilean ambassador was called back because of “the escalation of Israeli military operations in Gaza” said the Chilean Foreign Ministry.
“Chile notes with great concern and dismay that such military operations, which at this stage of development are subject to a collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza, do not respect fundamental rules of international humanitarian law.”
The Chilean Foreign Ministry went on to note that over 1,000 Palestinian lives, including civilians, have been lost during Operation Protective Edge, which is now in its 27th day.
Furthermore the statement condemned rocket fire by Hamas on the civilians of Israel, but said “the scale and intensity of Israeli operations in Gaza violate the principle of proportionality in the use of force, an essential requirement to justify self-defense.” The statement also called “for an immediate end of hostilities” in Gaza.
The Peruvian foreign ministry, in Lima, published a similar statement condemning Israel’s operation in Gaza.
The executive director of the American Jewish Committee that is active in Latin America, David Harris, said that it was astonishing that the Mercosur statement did not even mention Hamas.
Harris said “the notion that Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay would issue a joint statement with Venezuela voicing concern about human rights anywhere would be laughable, if it weren’t so terribly tragic. Caracas has been one of the main defenders of Syrian President [Bashar] Assad, who is responsible for some 170,000 deaths and millions of refugees, and is a staunch ally of Iran, the principal state sponsor of terrorism in the world, including at least two deadly attacks in Argentina in 1992 and 1994.”
Delisa Morris Delisa Morris is a Law Student and Master of Science Candidate in Public Relations at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. She is originally from Chicago, Illinois and completed her Bachelor's degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.