LA PAZ, Bolivia — Bolivia’s government severed diplomatic ties with Israel on Tuesday, accusing it of committing “crimes against humanity” in Gaza, and Chile and Colombia recalled their ambassadors to Israel after criticizing the Israeli military offensive against Hamas terrorists.
Bolivian officials cited the number of Palestinian casualties in Gaza resulting from the latest war between Israel and Hamas, but made no mention of the deadly shock attack on Israel by Hamas that sparked the conflict.
“Bolivia has decided to sever diplomatic relations with the State of Israel in rejection and condemnation of the aggressive and disproportionate Israeli military offensive taking place in the Gaza Strip,” said Freddy Mamani, Bolivian Deputy Minister. of Foreign Affairs, during a press conference.
Chile has decided to recall its ambassador “in the face of the unacceptable violations of international humanitarian law committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip,” the South American country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement also shared on X by President Gabriel Boric.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro also announced that he was recalling his country’s ambassador to Israel.
“If Israel does not stop the massacre of the Palestinian people, we cannot stay there,” Petro wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Bolivia, Chile and Colombia all have left-wing governments.
María Nela Prada, minister of the Bolivian presidency and acting foreign minister, accused Israel of “committing crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip against the Palestinian people.”
She then called on Israel to “cease attacks in the Gaza Strip which have already resulted in thousands of civilian casualties and the forced displacement of Palestinians.”
Chile also called for “an immediate end to hostilities”. He condemned the Israeli operations, saying they “constitute collective punishment against the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza.”
Like Bolivia, Chile made no mention of the Hamas attack on Israel.
Bolivia also said it “rejects Israeli hostile treatment toward international actors providing humanitarian aid in the Gaza Strip,” Prada said, adding that Bolivia would send aid to the Gaza Strip, but not clarify what this might entail.
Neither Prada nor Mamani mentioned the Hamas attack on Israel, continuing the trend of the Bolivian government never condemning the October 7 attack in which more than 1,400 people were killed in Israel and around 240 hostages taken.
On October 7, the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs simply declared that it was “deeply concerned by the violent events occurring in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Palestine.” On October 18, the Foreign Ministry condemned the Israeli attacks and stressed “our solidarity and unwavering support for the Palestinian people.”
Gaza’s health ministry, controlled by Hamas, says more than 8,500 Palestinians have been killed in the war. These figures cannot be independently verified and are believed to include terrorists and civilians killed by misfired rockets.
The government of this Andean nation of 12 million people, now led by left-wing President Luis Arce, has long been critical of Israel and previously severed diplomatic relations in 2009 following a war against Hamas in Gaza. Diplomatic relations were restored in 2020.
Arce expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people following a meeting Monday with Palestinian Ambassador to Bolivia Mahmoud Elalwani.
“We cannot remain silent and continue to tolerate the suffering of the Palestinian people, especially children, who have the right to live in peace. We condemn the war crimes committed in Gaza,” Arce wrote on social media after the meeting.
Bolivia’s influential former president, Evo Morales, who was once an ally of Arce but turned against him, celebrated the government’s decision to sever ties, although he said the move had not gone well. far enough.
“Bolivia must declare the State of Israel a terrorist state and file a complaint with the International Criminal Court,” Morales wrote on social media.
Hamas on Tuesday welcomed Bolivia’s decision, saying it “holds it in high esteem” while urging Arab countries that have normalized relations with Israel to do the same.
Bolivia’s move comes after Colombia demanded that the Israeli ambassador leave Bogota earlier this month, following Israel’s announcement that it would stop exports of security products to the South American country. following Petro’s comparison of Israeli actions in Gaza to the Nazi genocide of Jews during World War II.
Boric, the Chilean president, also has a history of critical remarks about Israel and last year snubbed the new Israeli ambassador to Santiago before finally accepting his credentials two weeks later.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry did not immediately react to the measures taken by Bolivia, Colombia and Chile.