Noa Landau reports for Haaretz:
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
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
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.”
Bolivian Thoughts opinion: This is great news for both countries as most of Sephardic people coming during the colony from Spain to Bolivia, have a common history with Israel. I still recall going to Rurrenabaque in late 90s and watching the menus of most of the restaurants there offering their meals in three languages, in this order: Modern Hebrew, English and Spanish. Hundreds of Israeli citizens, right after their military service, came in “pilgrimage” to visit the jungle in that region. The Madidi National Park is next to Rurrenabaque and it is the one of the most diverse ecologically speaking in Bolivia. There is a book: Lost in the Tuichi, written by Yosseph “Yossi” Ghinsberg, which describes his days when he got lost by the Tuichi river. And that was the reason for all those young adults from Israel, travelling to Bolivia to try experience Yossi’s adventure. When the former delusional autocrat decided to break relations with Israel, it was a low blow on Rurrenabaque’s economy. Tourism got seriously affected. I just hope that we continue to receive Israeli tourists. This is another example of how morales managed to ruin our lives.