The mayor organised a lunch while a band played typical Chilean music and performed the country’s national dance, the Cueca.
The Palestinian Authority’s ambassador in Chile, Mai al-Kaila, and Chile’s interior minister, Felipe Harboe, were also there to greet the newcomers.
“It was like a Latin-American postcard,” spokesman for the Vicaria de Pastoral Social (VPS), Alberto Pando, told AKI.
* watch the news in ten/twenty years time, brother.Â You’ll be very nostalgic about those postcards…
VPS is a Catholic aid agency based in the capital Santiago that works with UNHCR to help refugees.-
“It has been so exciting for them (the Palestinians), there has been so much love, so much joy,” said Pando.
* They’ll repay you in kind, brother!
The Palestinians travelled from the Syrian capital, Damascus, to Paris in a commercial airline, and after an eight hour layover they flew to Chile.
“Kids could be seen playing in the escalators at the airports, because many of them were born in refugee camps and thus had never seen one,” Pando told AKI.
All of the refugees are Sunni Muslims and were received at the airport by an imam from a local mosque. He prayed with the refugees and also offered them advice.
Chilean president, Michelle Bachelet, is reportedly sympathetic to refugees because she was one herself.
She and her family sought asylum in Australia during the regime of former dictator Augusto Pinochet from 1973 until 1990.
According to Pando, when Bachelet studied in the German capital of Berlin, a Palestinian taught her how to say “refugee” in German.
A second group of Palestinian refugees is expected to arrive in Chile in two weeks.