Peru names square in capital Lima after Palestine, angering Israeli envoy
Story Code : 769784
On Monday, Peruvian officials inaugurated the square in the San Borja district during a ceremony hosted by Mayor Marco Antonio Alvarez Vargas.
Israeli Ambassador to Peru, Asaf Ichilevich, slammed the move in a post published on his Facebook page.
“I am writing these lines to express my surprise at having learned of the inauguration of Plaza Palestina in San Borja, just on the day that the term of the district’s mayor expires,” he wrote.
Ichilevich added, “We hereby raise our objection to the presence of a square in our district, which will serve as a platform for future acts of support to the ... Palestinian cause.”
The Palestinian Embassy in Peru, in return, roundly rejected the Israeli ambassador’s comments.
“We regret that the Israeli embassy intends to affect the peaceful coexistence of our communities by stoking hatred through such defamatory statements. We would like to inform members of the public that there is a park called Ramat Gan Israel in San Borja, and the Palestinian community has never sought to spoil it. On the contrary, we respect the autonomy of Peruvian institutions and the diversity of communities and cultures that coexist peacefully in the country,” a statement released by the diplomatic mission read.
The statement added that Palestinian diplomats will lodge a formal protest against Ichilevich’s remarks with the Peruvian Foreign Ministry, and will ask the ministry to take appropriate measures in this regard.
On January 25, 2011, Peru recognized a “free and sovereign” Palestinian state, joining a wave of Latin American countries.
“Today the government communicated to the ambassador of Palestine in Lima recognition of the Palestinian state as free and sovereign,” former Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Belaunde said at the time.
Brazil led the move to recognize Palestine in late 2010, and was later joined by Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana and Uruguay.