If you are a Palestinian in Chile you won’t have the sense of being a stranger, it’s very familiar to see the Palestinian and Chilean flags fluttering alongside each other, and certainly you will enter Shops and Restaurants that holds names of Palestinian villages and cities, you will pass through streets filled with graffiti dedicated to Palestine. as the folk saying “wherever you go in Chile, you will find a monk, a fisher and a Palestinian”. People from Palestinian origins living in the deep south of Latin America at a distance of 13 thousand kilometers from Palestine are proud of their origin and playing an important role in the country they considered as a second home.

In numbers Palestinian of Chile:

The Palestinian community in Chile is considered to be the largest compared with other Palestinian gatherings around the world, and the largest foreign community in Chile, with an estimated number of 400 to 500 thousand Palestinian with a majority of holders of the Chilean citizenship, these numbers represent a fourth and fifth generation of first Palestinian migrants, there father migrated to Chile at the latest nineteenth and early twentieth century for economic reasons mainly and running away from the political circumstances in the Arab world during the first world war, these  Palestinian immigrants were followed by a new wave of migrants Due to the Palestinian catastrophe ”Nakba” in 1948, and a few years later in 1967 exodus “Naksa”, others migrated during the Lebanese civil war and the first and second intifada and several other crisis and wars that limited the settling options weather in Palestine or outside of Palestine. The latest migration wave was in 2008 when a number of 117 Palestinians arrived to Chile and were welcomed at “la moneda palace”.

Palestinian organizations:

Chilean Palestinians are distributed throughout the Chilean regions, particularly in and around the capital Santiago, and other southern Chilean areas such as (Concepción, Qian, Faldivia, Linares,Talca), they were able to integrate remarkably in the community till they became one of its most important component. The Chilean Palestinians are known to have economic and political influence, they held senior positions in the country such as the Chilean parliament and government, according to some articles the Palestinian community is in control of 70% of the country’s economy, owning more than tens of major banks. therefore, its considered to be one of the richest community in the world.

Furthermore, tens of Palestinian civil society organizations are active in Chile, most notable organizations are (Comunidad Palestina de Chile - ex Federación Palestina de Chile , Fundación Palestina Belen 2000, General Union of Palestinian Students, Club Palestino, Club Deportivo Palestino - Soccer team), Club Palestino in Santiago Chile is considered to be the biggest and most popular Palestinian civil society organization, providing tennis courts and sports arenas, this club was founded by the early migrants making it one of the most prestigious clubs in the country, the club uniform has the four color of the Palestinian flag, the team reached Chile’s football championship several times.

The Palestinian civil society organization in Chile is working on saving the Palestinian identity for future generations by organizing trips to Palestine, providing Arabic language scholarship to Jordan and Palestine, involving the youth in media conferences about Palestine, and many other organizations that focuses on the Palestinian children in Chile and Palestine by offering fund to improve their life standards in education, health and entertainment, Fundación  palestina Belén 2000 is considered to be one of the organizations working on these programs, the organization is known for its annual dinner (Maklube Fraterno) for businessmen and institutions to finance these initiatives.

Community outreach:

The Palestinian civil society organizations play an important role in networking and coordinating between Chilean and Palestinian organizations that represent the civil society in general through organization with several committed roles that are valued by brotherhood and friendship between the two nations, furthermore, promoting of human rights principles and international law. when it comes to the Palestinian case these organizations play a role in coordinating between Chilean and Palestinian parliament figures, also cooperating with the Chilean Senate and House of Representatives in promoting and drafting resolutions in favor of Palestine, further, in organizing annual Parliament trips between Chile and Palestine in order to deepen their understanding of Palestine.

This is considered as an extension to the role the first Palestinian immigrants, were they established cultural, social, language and heritage clubs that are considered too be the starting point of many activities and gatherings that opened doors for Chilean people to recognize the Palestinian immigrants living in the same country. Other active organizations are Palestinian women’s organizations that create a base that work on saving the Palestinian heritage and culture from disappearing especially for the younger generation with more than 150 years of migrating to a new country.

The Student organizations have contributed in strengthening the identity and the feeling belonging in the new Palestinian generation, for these new generation to stay conscious and in touch with the crises and difficulties happening in their homeland. These organizations host lectures m festivals, and conferences were they bring experts to participate with audience of hundreds of Palestinian, Chilean and other nationality attending these activities.

In conclusion, the role of the Palestinian community and the civil society organizations in Chile  cannot be included in one article, for it won’t be able to cover all the activities of approximately half a million Palestinian whom are joined with on goal  the road to Palestine, therefore, the department of studies and resources at the international platform of NGOs working for Palestine will commit to publish several studies and periodical articles that shed light on the highlight of changes that the Palestinian community in Chile went through , it’s history, present , its successes and failures, the major active organizations and institutes in Chile.