The Bolivian government announced on Tuesday that it was severing diplomatic relations with Israel over its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip following attacks by the Palestinian Islamist movement on areas of Israeli territory on October 7.
Bolivia, ruled by leftist President Luis Arce, became the first Latin American country to make the move after the war broke out.
Chile and Colombia announced at the same time that they were recalling their ambassadors from Tel Aviv for consultations, in protest respectively at “the unacceptable violations of international humanitarian law” and at “the massacre of the Palestinian people” by Israel.
In La Paz, the government “made the decision to sever diplomatic relations with the State of Israel as a sign of rejection and condemnation of the (…) disproportionate Israeli military offensive being carried out in the Gaza Strip,” Deputy Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani explained in during the press conference.
The general secretary of the presidency, Maria Nella Prada, announced at the same time the humanitarian aid mission to the Gaza Strip. “We demand an end to the attacks (…) which have so far caused thousands of civilian deaths and forced displacement of Palestinians,” he added.
In a statement yesterday, Hamas praised the Bolivian government’s decision, expressing its “great appreciation” for it and calling on Arab countries that have normalized relations with Israel to follow suit.
The Israeli government has not reacted at this stage.
The Israel/Hamas war, now in its 26th day, was sparked by the Gaza Strip-based Palestinian Islamist movement’s bloody attack on Israeli territories, during which more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, were killed and abducted. another 240 plus, according to Israeli authorities.
In retaliation, Chahal, the Israeli army, has since relentlessly bombarded the enclave of 2.4 million residents, where it has imposed an absolute siege. And now he has been conducting land operations for the last few days.
Before cutting the bridges, Bolivian President Arce met on Monday with Palestinian Ambassador Mahmoud Elalwani.
Bolivia had already severed diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009. The president at the time, the socialist Evo Morales, had taken this decision in protest of Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip.
La Paz has recognized the State of Palestine since the 1980s.
Diplomatic relations were restored in November 2019, when a right-wing transitional government was in power, before Luis Arce, then still a dolphin of Mr Morales, won the 2020 presidential election.
Evo Morales described the Arce government’s decision as late, estimating that it was due to “the pressure of the people” as “the Israeli regime has murdered more than 8,500 people”.
At least 50 people died yesterday in an Israeli bombardment of the Jambaliya refugee camp in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, the Health Ministry of the enclave, where Hamas rules, announced.
Even before this bombing, the ministry had reported 8,525 dead, including 3,542 children, and more than 21,000 wounded since the war began.
In the occupied West Bank, at least 122 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli soldiers or settlers, according to the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry.
In Santiago, President Gabriel Boric announced that his government “strongly condemns and monitors with great concern” Israel’s military operations in the Palestinian enclave, recalling Ambassador Jorge Carvajal from Tel Aviv.
Chile hosts the largest Palestinian diaspora outside the Arab world. Mr Boric’s government, which strongly condemned the Hamas attack, is in favor of a two-state solution in the Middle East and is among those calling for an immediate ceasefire.
In Bogotá, President Gustavo Petros denounced the “massacre of the Palestinian people” by recalling ambassador Margarita Manjares.
The Colombia/Israel relationship was already strained, with President Petros strongly criticizing statements by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galland and the way the Israeli military is acting, and Israeli Ambassador Gali Dagan accusing him of “anti-Semitic” positions.
Other Latin American countries, including regional powers such as Mexico and Brazil, are increasingly calling for a ceasefire.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Friday denounced the “insanity of Israeli Prime Minister” Benjamin Netanyahu, “who wants to wipe the Gaza Strip off the map.”