Israel will follow with a critical eye the United Nations organized forum on the Israel-Palestine conflict which opened Tuesday in Montevideo, because whatever the results, the Israeli government is ‘particularly interested in the Uruguayan government’s position’.
“We are not participating in the forum because we believe the essence of the meeting is anti Israel”, said the Israeli ambassador in Montevideo, Dori Goren. The line of action of this forum is clearly and openly bias towards the Arab Palestine position argues the diplomat.
“It has always been a forum critical of us, you just have to look at the resolution of the last edition two years ago in Santiago del Chile which was particularly negative towards Israel”, said Ambassador Goren.
Anyhow for the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu it’s not so important the resolution to be adopted by the two-day forum in Montevideo, but rather to know exactly where President Jose Mujica stands in the conflict.
A few weeks ago the Uruguayan Foreign Affairs ministry announced its position in support of the creation of a Palestinian state, as well as underlining its complete recognition of the state of Israel, following on a rash of statements from Latin American and Caribbean countries relative to the controversial issue.
“Compared to the rest, Uruguay’s acknowledgement was the mildest of Latin America, the only one I believe together with Chile and Peru that did not mention the 1967 borders point”, said ambassador Dori Goren.
Goren said that Uruguay’s position has always been crucial for Israel since Uruguay was one of the first countries in recognizing the state of Israel and the partition of the territory in Jewish and Arab states.
“I’m most interested in the Uruguayan government position in this forum so that is why we are going to follow closely the opening speech of Minister Luis Almagro. We are well aware the minister always points out that relations with Israel are preferential”.
The other main speaker on the opening is the representative from the Palestinian Authority, Saeb Erakat.
The close relations with Israel will have a solid expression next month when a numerous delegation of Uruguayan officials, businessmen, union leaders and governors arrives in Tel Aviv with the purpose of promoting closer trade ties and attracting Israeli investors. The delegation is headed by Industry and Energy minister Roberto Kreimerman and the presidents of Uruguay’s oil company and meat exports institute.
However Israeli concerns will persist since this week Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is expected in Montevideo. Chavez has openly supported Libya’s Muamar Gaddafi as well as Mahmud Ahmadinejad, leader of Iran, considered the most dangerous threat to Israel. The Venezuelan leader has repeatedly described them as “my friends, my brothers of struggle against the empire”.
“It won’t be a good week for us”, admitted the Israeli ambassador.
The peace process between Israel and Palestine was frozen in 2010 following Palestinian claims regarding the Israel state decision to continue constructing Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Anyhow both sides’ attempts to reach a peace understanding have been neutralized by internal divisions as to the approach, in doves and hawks.
Another headache for Israel is that Uruguay abstained in the 47 member United Nations Human Rights Council from voting to send a human rights rapporteur to the Islamic republic of Iran.
The proposal from United States and Sweden managed the support of 22 countries among which Argentina and Brazil than during the administration of former President Lula da Silva had close pro-dialogue links with Teheran.
Uruguay abstained together with Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Djibouti, Gabon, Ghana, Jordan, Malaysia, Mauritius Island, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Thailand and Uganda.
Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Ecuador, Mauritania, Pakistan and the Russian federation voted against.