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Bolivia cuts Israel ties, Chile, Colombia recall envoys over Gaza

Bolivia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani (R) speaks next to the minister of the presidency Maria Nela Prada at a press conference announcing that Bolivia will break relations with Israel, Oct. 31, 2023. (AFP Photo)

Bolivia has severed diplomatic ties with Israel while Chile and Colombia recalled their ambassadors from the country over its disproportionate attacks in Gaza and a mounting humanitarian crisis.

Bolivia “has decided to cut diplomatic relations with the State of Israel, in repudiation and condemnation of the aggressive and disproportionate Israeli military offensive being carried out in the Gaza Strip,” Deputy Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani told a press conference on Tuesday.

Minister of the Presidency Maria Nela Prada also announced the country was sending humanitarian aid to Gaza.

“We demand an end to the attacks” in the Gaza Strip “which have so far caused thousands of civilian deaths and the forced displacement of Palestinians,” she said at the same press conference.

The government of leftist Luis Arce is the first in Latin America to cut ties with Israel since the conflict erupted over the Oct. 7 Hamas incursion, which Israeli authorities claim killed more than 1,400 people.

Bolivia only announced it was restoring ties with Israel in 2019, a decade after they were cut over previous attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Hamas welcomed Bolivia’s decision Tuesday, saying it “holds it in high esteem” while urging Arab countries who have normalized their relations with Israel to do the same.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry in its response Wednesday, accused Bolivia of “capitulation to terrorism.” A statement by the Foreign Ministry also sought to play down the decision, saying “relations between the countries had been devoid of content anyway” since a government handover there.

Colombia, Chile recall envoys

In separate developments, the leaders of both Colombia and Chile also spoke out Tuesday against the Israeli offensive, which has now killed more than 8,500 Palestinians – two-thirds of them women and children.

“I have decided to recall our ambassador to Israel (Margarita Manjarrez) for consultation. If Israel does not stop the massacre of the Palestinian people, we cannot be there,” Colombia’s leftist President Gustavo Petro wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Chile, which has the largest Palestinian population outside the Arab world, also said Tuesday it was recalling its ambassador to Israel in protest against Israel’s “unacceptable violations of international humanitarian law.”

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the U.N. Security Council, has urged a cease-fire.

He said the “terrorist attack” by Palestinian militants against Israel did not justify killing “millions of innocents” in Gaza.

“Just because Hamas committed a terrorist attack against Israel doesn’t mean Israel has to kill millions of innocents,” he said in a live address on social media.


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