Bolivia Cuts Ties With Israel; Chile, Colombia Recall Envoys in Tel Aviv

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Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has criticised what he called “the insanity of the prime minister of Israel (in) wanting to destroy the Gaza Strip but forgetting that there aren’t just Hamas soldiers there but also women and children who are the big victims of this war”.

LA PAZ — Shaken by the continued Israeli onslaught on the impoverished and besieged Gaza Strip, several South American countries have registered diplomatic protests against the Jewish state. Bolivia’s leftwing government on Tuesday entirely severed ties with Israel and attributed its decision to alleged war crimes and human rights abuses being committed in the Gaza Strip.

Hours later, the governments of Chile and Colombia recalled their ambassadors from Israel, while Brazil’s president criticised the continued airstrikes on Gaza.

The decision by Bolivia was announced at a press conference by María Nela Prada, a minister in President Luis Arce’s administration. “We demand an end to the attacks on the Gaza Strip which have so far claimed thousands of civilian lives and caused the forced displacement of Palestinians,” the minister told reporters in her country’s de facto capital, La Paz.

Bolivia’s Deputy Foreign Minister, Freddy Mamani Machaca, said the decision represented “a repudiation and condemnation of the aggressive and disproportionate Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip and its threat to international peace and security”.

The move came after the former president Evo Morales called for his country to sever ties with Israel because of the “horrific situation facing the Palestinian people”. Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, earlier this month, Morales demanded Israel be classified as a “terrorist state” and for the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and “his accomplices” be denounced to the International Criminal Court for genocide and war crimes.

Bolivia previously broke off relations with Israel in 2009 after the county’s invasion of the Gaza Strip but re-established ties in 2020 under the rightwing president Jeanine Áñez.

Colombia’s leftwing President, Gustavo Petro, said on Tuesday he had recalled his ambassador over Israel’s “massacre of the Palestinian people”.

Petro recently likened Israel’s actions to those of Adolf Hitler’s Nazis, drawing a rebuke from Israel’s foreign ministry, which accused him of putting Jewish lives in danger and encouraging “the horrific acts of Hamas terrorists” with his “hostile and antisemitic statements”.

Chile’s President, Gabriel Boric, also announced he had recalled his country’s ambassador in Tel Aviv to discuss the “unacceptable violations of international humanitarian law” he said Israel was committing in Gaza.

Boric said the more than 8,000 civilian victims of Israel’s offensive – many of them women and children – demonstrated that the military operation represented the “collective punishment of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza”.

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva last week criticised what he called “the insanity of the prime minister of Israel [in] wanting to destroy the Gaza Strip but forgetting that there aren’t just Hamas soldiers there but also women and children who are the big victims of this war”.

“Just because Hamas committed a terrorist act against Israel, it doesn’t mean Israel has to kill millions of innocent people,” Lula added in another interview.

On Tuesday evening, after reports that dozens had been killed by Israeli airstrikes at a refugee camp in northern Gaza, Lula tweeted: “For the first time, we are witnessing a war in which the majority of the dead are children … Stop! For the love of God, stop!” — Agencies

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