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Chile Recalls Israeli Ambassador Over Gaza

Chile recalls its ambassador to Israel for questioning, says it is "disappointed" over Israel's operation in Gaza.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 7/30/2014, 1:13 AM

IDF reservists on the border with Gaza
IDF reservists on the border with Gaza
Reuters

Chile recalled its ambassador to Israel for questioning on Tuesday, in a demonstration of opposition to Israel’s military action in Gaza, the Santiago Times reports.

“In the face of intensifying Israeli military action in the Gaza Strip, the government of Chile — in coordination with other administrations in the region — has resolved to recall the Chilean ambassador in Tel Aviv, Jorge Montero, to Santiago for consultations,” said a statement released by the Foreign Ministry.

According to the Santiago Times , on July 12, the Senate voted unanimously to request that President Michelle Bachelet withdraw Montero from Israel. On Sunday, Sen. Alejandro Navarro renewed calls for Montero’s recall, claiming his presence in Israel made Chile “complicit in the savagery and war crimes” of Israeli military action.

“Chile observes with great concern and disappointment that [Israeli] military operations — which at this stage constitute a collective punishment of the civilian Palestinian population in Gaza — do not respect the fundamental norms of international humanitarian law as demonstrated by the more than 1000 victims, including women and children, as well as attacks on schools and hospitals,” the foreign ministry’s statement continued.

Although the government again condemned Hamas’ rocket attacks on the Israeli civilian population, it challenged the Israeli government’s claim that its military action constituted a legitimate defense.

“It is important to note the scale of intensity of Israeli operations in Gaza which violate the principle of proportionality in their use of force — a key requisite for any justification of legitimate defense,” the statement read.

The statement concluded by reiterating calls for a ceasefire on humanitarian grounds and gave its support for similar calls from the United Nations.

“Chile supports the call of United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who, warning that 10 percent of Gaza’s population is taking shelter with the United Nations, has asked Israel and other actors to do much more to guarantee the security of the organization’s premises and those seeking refuge there,” it said.

Chile is believed to have the largest Palestinian Arab population outside of the Middle East, noted the Santiago Times.