The government of Bolivia made the announcement on Tuesday that it would be severing diplomatic relations with Israel due to its military operation in Gaza and alleged war crimes against the Palestinians. The decision comes in response to the aggressive and disproportionate Israeli military offensive taking place in the Gaza Strip, according to Deputy Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani. Acting Foreign Minister Maria Nela Prada accused Israel of committing crimes against humanity against the Palestinians in Gaza, calling on the Israeli government to cease attacks that have resulted in thousands of civilian casualties and the forced displacement of Palestinians.
One of the main demands made by Bolivia is the end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza, which they argue violates international humanitarian law. The blockade is preventing the entry of essential elements for life, including food and water, into the region.
This is not the first time that Bolivia has severed relations with Israel over the situation in Gaza. In 2009, under the rule of President Evo Morales, diplomatic relations were cut off. However, relations were re-established by the pro-US government that came into power in 2019. The decision to sever ties again comes after President Luis Arce’s meeting with the Palestinian ambassador in La Paz, Mahmoud Elalwani.
The move by Bolivia has garnered criticism from former President Evo Morales, who took to X (formerly Twitter) to express his dissatisfaction. Morales believes that Bolivia should go further and declare Israel a terrorist state, as well as file a complaint with the International Criminal Court. Morales, who announced last month that he would challenge Arce for the presidency in 2025, believes that the government’s decision was only made under popular pressure and took too long to be implemented.
The conflict between Israel and Hamas escalated on October 7 when the Palestinian militant group launched an incursion, resulting in the deaths of 1,400 Israelis, including civilians. Since then, Gaza officials have reported that more than 8,500 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli air and artillery strikes.
The decision by Bolivia to sever diplomatic relations with Israel highlights the growing international concern over the situation in Gaza and the alleged war crimes being committed against the Palestinian people. It remains to be seen how other countries will respond to Bolivia’s action and whether it will lead to any meaningful change in the Israeli government’s policies in Gaza.