Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Thoughts of a Palestinian Chilean

Middle East Monitor

Ramona Wadi
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 17:45

Can you narrate the origins of the Palestinian community in Chile?

There were three important migrations of Palestinians to Chile. The first registered migration occurred in 1880, although it is noted that those who arrived prior to this, in 1850, quickly returned to Palestine. The era was that of the Turkish Ottoman Empire, which exercised its power over Arab nations and imposed higher taxes on the income of non-Turkish subjects of the empire, making life very difficult. With this migration, the doors of South America were open to Palestinians. Their preferred destinations in the region were Chile, Peru and Bolivia – notably because of the similarities in climate, landscape and the perceived opportunities offered by a developing country which had just celebrated its 100 years of independence. The migration intensified during the World Wars for reasons well understood. The Turks sent Arab youths, as young as fifteen, to the battle front. The parents, in an attempt to prevent probable death, sent their sons to ‘conquer the world’ through travels, with the intention of joining their offspring and returning to a normal family life once they became established in another country. These families were mostly Christian families who suffered discrimination at the hands of the Empire. Migrants from Syria and Lebanon also faced the same problems.

The second migration occurred during the British Mandate for Palestine, which was contrary to the agreements between Palestinians and General Allenby who promised Palestinians their independence if they fought against the Turks. My grandfather was part of this migration to Chile in 1925. The mandate caused widespread discontent amongst Palestinians due to the entry of European Zionists; also British laws were harsh in relation to Palestinians.

The third migration happened after the Nakba Catastrophe in 1948. Palestinians were dominated by Jordanians and Israelis, making life extremely difficult especially for those with large families. My father’s family completed their migration in 1951, returning only sporadically to Chile to visit relatives who stayed behind. There was a fourth migration, not as large as the previous, which took place in 1967 upon the total occupation of Palestine


Mauricio Abu-Ghosh was detained in Isael, and refused entry to the Palestinian Territories in 2012.

The article goes on to describe the speaker as Mauricio Abu-Ghosh, a first generation Palestinian Chilean with ancestral roots in Beit Jala. Mr. Abu Ghosh is also President of the Palestinian Federation of Chile.

He has apparently come to the attention of Israeli authorities who have detained him when he has tried to end the Palestinian territories.

I do not fault him for not being Zionist. I suppose that would be too much to ask of a Palestinian, whether Christian or Muslim. But he should at least acknowledge that the Christians have been persecuted by Muslim as well.

Middle East Monitor

Ramona Wadi
Wednesday, 28 November 2012 17:45

We also do a program on Radio Universidad de Chile, which runs every Sunday at 7pm – an hour of analysis, news and interviews. As can be seen, the Federation is growing and we will continue spreading the just cause of the Palestinians.

What has to be noted is that He is Christian. Beit Jala was a Christian town. He was careful to downplay the aspect of Christianity, but he should not have avoided the issue.

Make no mistake about it. The Palestinians of Chile are becoming radicalized.  Chile is the elite capitalist workhorse of South America.  The Palestinians are the elite of Chile.   If this is not contested, it will have a disastrous effect for the West.