A senior government politician has said Israel’s ambassador should be “kicked out” of Peru, in response to comments made by the diplomat after it withdrew its envoy from Israel last week.
Congressman Daniel Abugattas (pictured) made the remarks after Israel’s ambassador, Modi Ephraim, said the politician of Palestinian descent’s presence in the Peruvian government was key in the recall of Jose Luis Salinas from Tel Aviv on July 29.
The episode further strains the two countries’ relations, after Peru and four Latin American states – Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and El Salvador – pulled top diplomats in protest this month at the escalating crisis in Gaza.
“I won’t allow Zionism to use my presence to brush aside the general indignation that the massacre in Gaza has caused,” Abugattas declared before Congress on Thursday.
Abugattas, a former president of Peru’s Congress, denied he had consulted with the President or Foreign minister, and said the comments were “offensive”.
Ephraim told Peru. 21 newspaper on Aug 1.: “It’s not the first time that we have heard very strong declarations against Israel by the nationalist congressman, Daniel Abugattas, who has not only applied pressure in these matters, but in commercial agreements.”
Ephraim also said Peru’s actions “rewarded terrorism” and added there were Peruvians that didn’t support the decision.
During an emotive intervention in Congress, Abugattas said: “This man should be kicked out of the country. Peru doesn’t have to tolerate the insolence of any rude character, in any way.”
In a statement to the Anadolu Agency, Peru’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs denied that Peru rewarded terrorism and declared the ambassador’s suggestions as “unacceptable”.
“On Friday 1st August the Asia and Middle East director of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs summoned the Israel ambassador to formally express to him our displeasure for the expressions he used,” a ministry spokesperson said.