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article imageBolivia declares Israel a terrorist state

By Brett Wilkins     Jul 31, 2014 in World
Cochabamba - Bolivia has canceled a visa exemption agreement and declared Israel a "terrorist state" in protest of its deadly war in Gaza.
Speaking to educators in Cochabamba, President Evo Morales announced the cancellation of the 1972 agreement which allowed Israeli citizens to travel visa-free to Bolivia.
"We are declaring Israel a terrorist state," said Morales, the first indigenous leader of the Andean nation of 10.5 million inhabitants.
"Israel is not a guarantor of the principles of respect for life and the elementary precepts of rights that govern the peaceful and harmonious coexistence of our international community," he added.
Bolivia broke off diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009 in the wake of the Jewish state's Cast Lead invasion of Gaza, a three-week campaign in which Israeli forces killed more than 1,400 Palestinians, 926 of them civilians.
At the time, Morales accused Israel of "genocide."
Earlier this month, Morales filed a request with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prosecute Israel for alleged crimes against humanity in Gaza.
More than 1,400 Palestinians, the vast majority of them innocent civilians — including hundreds of children — have been killed during Israel's three-week war against Hamas and other militants who have launched thousands of rockets into Israel. Another 7,000 Palestinians have been wounded, and at least 400,000 displaced. Israeli forces have bombed homes, hospitals, clinics, schools, mosques, UN shelters, playgrounds and Gaza's only power plant.
In one of the latest attacks to shock the world's conscience, at least 20 refugees seeking safety and shelter in a UN-run school in Jabalia were killed by Israeli tank shelling. Israeli officials said they were responding to militant fire originating near the school.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the attack.
"Nothing is more shameful than attacking sleeping children," said Ban.
Israeli officials accuse Hamas and other militants of operating in heavily populated civilian areas and of storing and launching weapons from civilian infrastructure including homes and schools.
Last week, the UN Human Rights Council voted 29-1 to investigate possible Israeli war crimes. The United States cast the lone dissenting vote.
Five other Latin American nations — Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, El Salvador and Peru — have recalled their ambassadors to Israel in protest of the war.
"We strongly condemn the disproportionate use of force by Israel in the Gaza Strip, from which large numbers of civilian casualties, including women and children, resulted," the Brazilian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor responded by calling Brazil a "diplomatic dwarf" and taking to Brazilian television to mock the soccer-obsessed nation's humiliating World Cup elimination loss to Germany.
"Israel's response is perfectly proportioned in accordance with international law," Palmor asserted on Globo's Jornal Nacional TV on Thursday.
"This is not football. In football, when a game ends in a draw, you think it's proportional," Palmor added. "But when it finishes 7-1 it's disproportionate. Sorry to say, but not so in real life and under international law."
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