Argentina blames Gaza violence on Palestinians

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with Argentine President Mauricio Macri at the San Martin palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sept. 12, 2017. (Avi Ohayon/Government Press Office/Flash90)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with Argentine President Mauricio Macri at the San Martin palace in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Sept. 12, 2017. (Avi Ohayon/Government Press Office/Flash90)

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) – In a sign of Argentina’s changing attitude toward Israel, the Argentine Foreign Ministry has issued a statement that seems to put the blame for recent clashes between the Israeli military and Hamas squarely on the Palestinians.

Referring to the recent escalation in tensions that has seen Hamas fire hundreds of rockets into Israeli territory and the Israelis carry out numerous retaliatory strikes against Hamas outposts and fighters, Friday’s statement expressed its “deep concern” over the violence, which it said was “caused by the launch of rockets towards Israel.”

In a tweet on its official account the same day, the ministry reiterated its position in identical language.

“The Argentine Government reiterates the pressing need for the peace process to be resumed in order to reach a fair and lasting solution, so that the State of Israel can exist peacefully alongside its neighbors, within secure and internationally recognized borders, and the Palestinian people can establish a sovereign, independent and viable State based on the 1967 borders and in accordance with the agreements reached by the parties in the negotiation process,” the statement said.

Relations between Argentina and Israel have warmed significantly since the 2015 election of President Mauricio Macri. He replaced Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, under whose leadership bilateral ties frayed significantly. In 2010, Kirchner recognized Palestine as a “free and independent state.”

In June, an Argentine federal court found that Jewish special prosecutor Alberto Nisman had been murdered as a direct consequence of his accusation against Kirchner of a cover-up of Iran’s role in the 1994 AMIA Jewish centre bombing.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Buenos Aires late last year and met with Macri, calling him “a true friend of Israel.”

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