Bolivia restores relations with Israel after ouster of leftist president Morales
Bolivia said Thursday it is restoring diplomatic relations with Israel, which it severed in 2009 under leftist president Evo Morales, who believed that Israel has no right to defend itself against rocket attacks from Gaza.
Foreign Minister Karen Longaric made the announcement in a meeting with foreign reporters, without giving a date for the establishment or giving any other details.
Morales, a former coca farmer union leader, resigned November 10 and fled to Mexico after a disputed election triggered days of deadly street protests.
He cut off relations with Israel in December 2008 after Operation Cast Lead, which aimed to stop indiscriminate rocket fire at Israeli civilians and weapons smuggling into Gaza.
Morales said he would ask the International Criminal Court to bring genocide charges against top Israeli officials for eliminating Muslim terrorists.
He also classified Israel as a ‘terrorist nation’ and canceled an accord under which Israelis could visit Bolivia without a visa.
“It was a political measure that did not take into effect the collateral effects, such as economic and trade issues,” said Longaric, adding that restoring these ties would be good for the Bolivian tourism industry.
Foreign Minister Yisrael Katz welcomed Bolivia’s decision: “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.”