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Bolivia severs diplomatic ties with Israel over Gaza war

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Bolivia has become the first Latin American country to cut diplomatic ties with Israel over what it describes as “aggressive and disproportionate” military actions in Gaza.

The country called for a ceasefire and said it would be supplying the blockaded Gaza Strip with aid.

An Israeli official said the move was “a surrender to terrorism”.

Lior Haiat accused the Bolivian government of “aligning itself with the Hamas terrorist organization”.

Bolivia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani said that the government had taken the decision to cut ties “in repudiation and condemnation of the aggressive and disproportionate Israeli military offensive taking place in the Gaza Strip”.

He added that the country wanted an end to Israel’s blockade that was preventing “the entry of food, water and other essential elements for life”.

Gaza has been under an Israeli siege for weeks, with essential aid only reaching people through Egypt’s Rafah crossing sporadically.

“Israel condemns Bolivia’s support of terrorism and its submission to the Iranian regime, which attest to the values the government of Bolivia represents,” Mr Haiat said in response.

Iran has been accused of providing support for Hamas to carry out the 7 October attacks. While Iran’s leaders have celebrated and praised the violence, they have denied involvement.

Bolivia is not the only Latin American country to have begun taking diplomatic steps against Israel.

Chile’s President Gabriel Boric announced on Tuesday he was recalling the 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 wrote on X, formerly Twitter.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro also called for Israel’s ambassador to leave the country before stepping back the comments.

Brazil’s President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva urged a ceasefire. Following reports of a new Israeli air strike in Gaza, Lula said on X: “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!”

SOURCE: BBC