LA PAZ -- President Evo Morales announced here Wednesday that Bolivia severed diplomatic ties with Israel as an act of solidarity with Palestinians suffering from Tel Aviv's current offensive in the Gaza strip.
"Bolivia had diplomatic relations with Israel, but in the face of of these acts of grave attacks against life, against humanity, Bolivia breaks diplomatic relations with Israel," he said during a reception for the diplomatic corps at the presidential palace.
The socialist head of state also called on the international community to unite in defense of humanity.
"The crimes of the government of Israel damage stability and global peace and have brought the world back to the worst stage of crimes against humanity that have not been seen except during World War II and, in recent years, in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda," Morales said in statements cited by the official ABI news agency.
Last week, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez expelled Israel's ambassador in Caracas to protest the deaths in Gaza.
Launched Dec. 27, the Israeli campaign in Gaza has left more than 900 Palestinians dead and 4,600 wounded. The United Nations estimates that half of the dead are women and children.
Tel Aviv says the aim is stopping Hamas militants from firing rockets at southern Israel. There were no Israeli civilian fatalities from the rockets in more than a year prior to the beginning of Israel's offensive.
The small African country of Mauritania is the only other country, aside Venezuela and Bolivia, to severe diplomatic relations with Israel. Mauritania was one of only three Arab league nations to have diplomatic relations with Israel.