LA PAZ, Oct 31 (Reuters) – Bolivia said on Tuesday it had severed diplomatic ties with Israel over its attacks on the Gaza Strip, while neighbors Colombia and Chile recalled their ambassadors from the Middle Eastern country for consultations.
The three South American countries condemned the Israeli attacks on Gaza and condemned the killing of Palestinian citizens.
Bolivian Deputy Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani said in a press conference that Bolivia “decided to sever diplomatic relations with the Israeli state in rejection and condemnation of the aggressive and disproportionate Israeli military attack taking place in the Gaza Strip.”
The three countries called for a ceasefire, with Bolivia and Chile demanding the passage of humanitarian aid to the region and accusing Israel of violating international law.
Colombian President Gustavo Petro described the attacks as a “massacre of the Palestinian people” in a post on the social media network X, formerly known as Twitter.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Other countries in Latin America, such as Mexico and Brazil, also called for a ceasefire.
“What we have now is the madness of the Israeli prime minister who wants to wipe out the Gaza Strip,” Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Friday.
Bolivia was one of the first countries to cut diplomatic relations with Israel because of its war in Gaza, in response to the attack that occurred on October 7 in southern Israel by Palestinian Hamas militants, who Israel says killed 1,400 people, including children, and took 240 people hostage.
Bolivia severed its diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009 during the era of the government of leftist President Evo Morales, also in protest against Israel’s actions in Gaza.
In 2020, the government of right-wing interim President Jeanine Anez restored relations.
“We reject the war crimes being committed in Gaza,” Bolivian President Arce said on social media on Monday. “We support international initiatives to guarantee humanitarian aid, in accordance with international law.”
Gaza health authorities say 8,525 people, including 3,542 children, have been killed in Israeli attacks since October 7. United Nations officials say more than 1.4 million of Gaza’s civilian population of about 2.3 million are homeless.
The Israeli army has accused the Iran-backed Hamas, which rules the narrow coastal region, of using civilian buildings as cover for fighters, commanders and weapons, accusations the army denies.
Report by Daniel Ramos – prepared by Muhammad for the Arabic Bulletin. (Additional reporting by Gabriel Araujo, Lucinda Elliott, Oliver Griffin and Peter Frontini) Writing by Brendan O’Boyle and Kylie Maddrey. Edited by Rosalba O’Brien and Stephen Coates
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