The right-wing coup regime in Bolivia announced plans Thursday to restore diplomatic relations with Israel, reversing ousted former President Evo Morales’ 2009 decision to cut off ties with the country over its weeks-long assault on the occupied Gaza Strip that killed over a thousand Palestinians.
Speaking to the media Thursday, Bolivian Foreign Minister Karen Longaric expressed hope that reestablishing ties with Israel will “lead to positive aspects for both sides and contribute to Bolivian tourism.”
Israel’s foreign ministry celebrated the foreign minister’s announcement in a statement.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has actively worked for a long period of time to promote the renewal of the relationship, also with the help of the Brazilian president [Jair Bolsonaro] and minister of foreign affairs, with whom I recently spoke on the subject at the U.N. Conference in New York,” said Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz. “The departure of President Morales, who was hostile to Israel, and his replacement by a government friendly to Israel, allows the fruition of the process.”
In addition to threatening to arrest leftist lawmakers and giving the Bolivian military free rein to gun down Indigenous anti-coup protestors, the Añez government quickly pushed Bolivia’s foreign policy to the right.
As the New York Times reported earlier this month:
The most radical changes have come from the Foreign Ministry. In just a few days, Ms. Añez, has cut Mr. Morales’ alliances with leftist governments in the region. She broke off relations with President Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela and kicked out hundreds of Cuban doctors working in the country.
Bolivia’s new foreign minister, Karen Longaric, said the country will quit the Venezuela-led economic bloc Alba and is considering leaving the left-leaning regional association, Unasur.
The Añez government’s decision to restore ties with Israel represents another major break from the foreign policy of Morales, who formally recognized Palestine as an independent state in 2010 and called on the International Criminal Court to charge top Israeli officials with genocide over the 2009 assault on Gaza, known as Operation Cast Lead.
“Bolivia had diplomatic relations with Israel,” Morales said in a 2009 speech. “Considering these grave attacks against… humanity, Bolivia will stop having diplomatic relations with Israel. The crimes committed by the Israeli government affect peace and stability in the world.”