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PA Foreign Ministry leaves diaspora Palestinians frazzled

8 19 6

Since the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in 1964, the group's main objective has been the unity and defense of Palestinian refugees. Diaspora Palestinians were invigorated and given a purpose by an organization dedicated to liberating Palestine and allowing them to return to their homeland.

With the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and the return of the Palestinian revolutionary leaders to Palestine, the relationship between the PLO and the Palestinian diaspora began to suffer. The establishment of the Palestinian Authority, the election of a president and a legislative council, and the creation of quasi-governmental bodies reflected a change in the PLO's priorities. Going forward, its priorities would focus more on state building than raising awareness of diaspora Palestinians.

The change has been strongly felt in Latin America, home to one of the largest Palestinian communities. Hanna Safieh, the secretary-general of the Confederation of Palestinian Communities in Latin America and the Caribbean (COPLAC), told Al-Monitor, “Generation after generation, our people are proud of their Palestinian origin and have never ceased to be a full part of our people in Palestine, their pains and aspirations.”

According to official Palestinian statistics, some 450,000 Palestinians live in Latin America, including in Chile (250,000), Honduras (100,000), El Salvador (50,000) and Brazil (30,000). COPLAC, an independent civil society organization, has been the regional body unifying these communities and helping to coordinate activities there between the diaspora community and the homeland.

Despite the change in priorities in Palestine, the Latin American diaspora, through COPLAC, planned to hold a major conference on Aug. 11. All delegates from Latin American diaspora communities as well as........

© Al Monitor