The Bolivian government announced Tuesday that it would be cutting diplomatic ties with Israel over the country’s war with Hamas, making it the first country to sever ties with Israel since the start of its conflict.
María Nela Prada, a minister in President Luis Arce’s administration, announced the decision at a press conference.
“We demand an end to the attacks on the Gaza Strip which have so far claimed thousands of civilian lives and caused the forced displacement of Palestinians,” she said.
The decision represents a “condemnation of the aggressive and disproportionate Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip and its threat to international peace and security,” Freddy Mamani, the country’s deputy foreign minister, said.
Mamani also said they are calling for Israel to end its blockade preventing the entry of food, water and other “essential elements for life,” Reuters reported.
Bolivia’s former president Evo Morales called for the country to sever ties with Israel because of the “horrific situation” Palestinian people are facing. In an Oct. 20 post on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, he demanded that the Bolivian government breaks its ties with Israel and declare it a terrorist state.
Bolivia previously broke ties with Israel in 2008 under Morales’s left-leaning leadership in protest of Israel’s actions in Gaza. In 2020, right-wing President Jeanine Áñez reestablished ties, Reuters reported.
President Arce met with the Palestinian ambassador to Bolivia recently and said the country would “support international initiatives to guarantee humanitarian aid, in compliance with international law.”
According to Gaza health authorities, 8,525 people have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory strikes since Oct. 7.
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This story originally Appeared on The Hill