Israel’s bombardment of Gaza has not gone unnoticed in Chile. Representatives of Chile’s sizable Palestinian community have been urging the government to take a more active stance in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and build on President Michelle Bachelet’s condemnation last week of the shelling.
So far, 243 Palestinians, including many women and children, have been killed and more than 1,500 injured since the bombing began on July 8, according to Gaza’s health ministry. In Israel, rockets launched from Gaza that weren’t picked off by the Iron Dome missile defense system have injured several people. One Israeli civilian died after he was hit by shrapnel near the Gaza border, and an Israeli soldier was killed during ground operations that began on July 17.
Chile, which recognized Palestine as a “free, independent and sovereign state” on January 7, 2011, is home to the largest Palestinian community outside the Middle East. Estimates of the number of Palestinian descendants in Chile range from 450,000 to 500,000.