Bolivia Renews Diplomatic Relations With Israel After Over Decade of Severed Ties

Ex-Bolivian President Morales decided in 2009 to cut all ties with Israel after Israel's offensive in Gaza, and recognized Palestine as an independent state in 2010

Bolivian Foreign Minister Karen Longaric speaks during a conference with the international press in La Paz, November 28, 2019.
AFP

Bolivia announced Thursday that it will renew its diplomatic ties with Israel after a decade in which relations between the two countries were severed.

Speaking to foreign press, Bolivian Foreign Minister Karen Longaric said: "We are going to restore relations with Israel." 

Longaric said that diplomatic ties will resume "out of respect for the sovereignty of the state, cordiality and that relations could lead to positive aspects for both sides and contribute to Bolivian 
tourism."

Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz welcomed Bolivia's decision to restore relations with Israel, saying it "will contribute to the strengthening of the country's foreign relations and its standing in the world."

Katz said that the "Foreign Ministry has been working for a long time directly as well as through mediation of the Brazilin president to promote the renewal of relations, adding that "I've recently discussed the matter with the Brazilian foreign minister at the UN General Assembly in New York."

"The resignation of President Morales, who was hostile to Israel, and his replacement with a friendly administration, has enabled the process to come to fruition," Katz said. 

In 2010, President Evo Morales formally recognized Palestine as an independent and sovereign state within the 1967 borders.

Earlier that year, Brazil and Argentina recognized Palestine as an independent state within its borders prior to 1967, in decisions that the United States and Israel slammed as counterproductive and damaging.

In 2009 Morales broke diplomatic ties with Israel after Operation Cast Lead, Israel's offensive in Gaza in 2008, and said he would ask the International Criminal Court to bring genocide charges against top Israeli officials. He did so to protest the death of multiple Palestinians in that campaign.

"Bolivia had diplomatic relations with Israel. [But] considering these grave attacks against...humanity, Bolivia will stop having diplomatic relations with Israel," Morales said at the time in a speech before diplomats in the government palace.

The chief of diplomacy for Bolivia's transitional government said that the move was taken at the time as "a measure of political nature without considerations of consequences, such as the economic and commercial parts."