Reuters and Algemeiner Staff
Newly appointed Israeli ambassador to Chile, Gil Artzyeli, poses for a group picture alongside Rabbi Yonatan Szewkis, Chilean deputy Helia Molina and Gerardo Gorodischer, during a religious ceremony in a synagogue in Vina del Mar, Chile, September 13, 2022. REUTERS/Ramon Sernuda
A diplomatic tussle intensified on Friday after Chile’s president put off accepting the credentials of Israel‘s new ambassador to Santiago over the killing in the West Bank of a Palestinian teenager.
In response, Israel‘s Foreign Ministry summoned Chilean ambassador Jorge Carvajal for what it called a reprimand at a meeting where, it said, “Israel’s response will be made clear.”
The dispute began on Thursday when Chilean Foreign Minister Antonia Urrejola informed newly appointed Israeli Ambassador Gil Artzyeli that Chilean President Gabriel Boric was postponing a meeting to accept his credentials until October.
“That’s because today is a sensitive day because of the death of a minor,” a spokesperson from Chile’s ministry of foreign affairs said in a text message, referring to the death of the 17-year-old Palestinian boy that day.
Israel assailed the snub on Friday, with its Foreign Ministry labeling it “puzzling and unprecedented behavior” and adding in its statement: “This seriously harms the relations between the two countries.”
On Thursday, Artzyeli, the new ambassador, sought to ease tensions following what he said was an “extensive” meeting where Chilean authorities repeatedly apologized.
“Being an Israeli and a Jew my people have seen worse things in the last 4,000 years,” he told reporters in Santiago. “We’re going to overcome this incident for the good of Chile, the good of Israel and our bilateral relations.”
Separately on Friday, Boric’s move drew praise from the Palestinian Authority, as well as the Islamist Hamas movement in Gaza.
“We welcome the Chilean president’s position, which is in line with international law and resolutions, and we appreciate this position aimed at applying pressure on the Israeli government to stop its ongoing daily crimes against our people,” said Ahmad al-Deek, adviser to the Palestinian foreign minister.