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Bolivia cuts diplomatic ties with Israel as Brazil, Chile and Colombia turn against promised land

Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Colombia have all turned against Israel since the Oct. 7 attacks, criticizing the Jewish state for its military response as Hamas continues to hold at least 239 hostages

Presidente de Chile, Gabriel Boric, presidente de Colombia, Gustavo Petro y presidente de Bolivia Luis Arce
Presidente de Chile, Gabriel Boric, presidente de Colombia, Gustavo Petro y presidente de Bolivia Luis Arce | Fotomontaje: EFE

November 1, 2023 9:26am

Updated: November 2, 2023 9:40am

Bolivia has become the first Latin American nation to sever diplomatic ties with Israel amid a wave of left leaning countries in the region that are now criticizing Israel for responding to the Hamas terrorist attacks of Oct. 7.

Bolivia criticized Israel for what it called “aggressive and disproportionate” military responses in Gaza.

The South American demanded Israeli Defense Forces stand down and implement a ceasefire, adding that it was willing to send the blockaded Gaza Strip aid and supplies. 

Israeli official Lior Haiat called the move “a surrender to terrorism” and accused the Bolivian government of “aligning itself with the Hamas terrorist organization.”

The South American country’s Deputy Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani said the Bolivian government made the decision “in repudiation and condemnation of the aggressive and disproportionate Israeli military offensive taking place in the Gaza Strip.”

He justified the country’s severance of diplomatic ties by explaining that his government was seeking an end to Israel's blockade, arguing that it was obstructing "the entry of food, water and other essential elements for life.”

The Gaza Strip has faced a powerful Israeli military incursion in response to the Hamas terrorist attacks, with occasional aid reaching people through Egypt's Rafah crossing

Haiat blasted back at Mamani, saying that the Bolivian government was turning a blind eye to the terrorist attacks committed on innocent Israelis while ignoring the role of the fundamentalist regime in Tehran.

“Israel condemns Bolivia's support of terrorism and its submission to the Iranian regime, which attest to the values the government of Bolivia represents,” he said.

Since the Oct’ 7 attacks, credible allegations have surfaced thar the Islamic Republic of Iran helped Hamas orchestrate and execute the terrorist attacks on Israel.

While the Islamic Republic’s leaders have openly supported violence against Israeli civilians, they have said their regime was not part of the operation or planning.

Bolivian President Luis Arce tweeted that Israel's actions in Gaza as “war crimes”  after he met with Mahmoud Elalwani, the Palestinian ambassador to Bolivia.

The president’s comments and diplomatic shift comes amid a wave of other left leaning Latin American nations who are victim blaming Israel after the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks.

Recently elected Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva also called upon Israel to cease its military operations in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

“We are seeing, for the first time, a war in which the majority of those killed are children ... Stop! For the love of God, stop!” he tweeted on social media after a recent Israeli air strike.

Colombian President and former M-19 guerrilla fighter Gustavo Petro also directed comments at Israel, insisting the Jewish state was murdering innocent Palestinian civilians.

“I have decided to call our ambassador in Israel for consultation,” Petro wrote, explaining that “if Israel does not stop the massacre of the Palestinian people we cannot be there.”

Another far left president, Gabriel Boric of Chile said he was recalling the South American country's ambassador in Tel Aviv for consultations “given the unacceptable violations of International Humanitarian Law that Israel has incurred in the Gaza Strip.”

“Chile strongly condemns and observes with great concern that these military operations, which at this point in their development entail collective punishment of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza,” he tweeted.

Israel has been bombing Gaza since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7 that killed 1,400 people and resulted in 239 people taken hostage.

So far, Hamas has not released the majority of hostages and brutal reports of Hamas killing infants, killing fetuses in pregnant women and parading naked bodies of dead women surfaced immediately during the attacks.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza has said that of the 8,500 war related deaths it is reporting, 3,500 are children, but those reports have not been confirmed by any outside source.

Israel and the U.S. have continued to demand the release of hostages. The American government said on Tuesday that 66 trucks had reached Gaza with aid, but the U.N. has hoped to send in about 500 per day.

Bolivia originally cut ties with Israel in 2009 under President Evo Morales to protest against Israel's actions in Gaza. It reestablished diplomatic relations with Israel in 2019.