Newspapers in Chile are carrying extensive coverage of the visit to Israel of the 33 miners who were trapped in the earth for 69 days before being rescued last October in a story that captured worldwide attentionI had missed where a Palestinian Christian Chilean, tirelessly working to advance the cause of the PLO in Chile, accused Chile's Jews of being Israeli agents.
The trip to Israel has been described by Chile's media as "a fitting way to salute to dramatic rescue of the miners."
But some newspapers are reporting that the visit is causing friction with the Palestinian Authority, which would like to be more actively involved.
PA diplomats in Santiago have complained to the Chilean foreign ministry that although the miners are scheduled to visit Bethlehem and Ramallah, in PA territory, the visit that has been described solely as a "trip to Israel." Dr. Mai al-Kaila, the PA ambassador to Chile said that the Palestinians would be happy to host the miners and their entourage during their visits to Bethlehem and Ramallah.
Chile is home to the largest Palestinian community outside of the Middle East, roughly 300,000-strong, with two-thirds of its members Christians. It is a relatively well-established community, politically active and vocal about events in the Middle East.
When tensions rise between Israel and Palestinians on the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, demonstrations are held in Chile's capital city, Santiago. Recently, tensions with the country's Jewish population (roughly 15,000-strong ) flared over Chile's recognition of Palestinian independence. Eugenio Toma, a senator of Palestinian origins, accused Chilean Jews of being "agents of Israel's government," and of "defrauding the public regarding the piratical occupation of Palestinian lands."
Of course, Israel is paying for this trip, so the PA's pique is simply whining.
But perhaps the funniest part of this episode was this comment by "Historian" in Ha'aretz:
Israel is Jewish - Christian sites certainly don't belong to Israel - Joshua even destroyed a lot of them
I knew Joshua was a great military leader and had conversations with God, but I had no idea he could also time-travel!