Belize cuts diplomatic ties with Israel 

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By Marco Echevarria

In a significant move, the government of Belize has announced the suspension of its diplomatic relations with Israel, citing Israel’s ongoing military actions in Gaza since early October. This decision places Belize among a growing number of Western Hemisphere nations expressing discontent with Israel’s tactics in the Gaza conflict, as reported by CNN.

The Belizean administration, led by Prime Minister Johnny Briceno, has been vocal in its criticism of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) for their operations in Gaza. Despite Belize’s repeated appeals for an immediate ceasefire and access for humanitarian aid into Gaza, the Israeli government has continued its actions, which Belize regards as violations of international humanitarian law. The Belizean government’s latest statement, dated November 14, emphasizes its stance for a ceasefire, the facilitation of humanitarian aid into Gaza, and the release of all hostages.

In a further escalation of its stance, Belize has revoked the accreditation of Israel’s ambassador and suspended its own diplomatic operations in Tel Aviv. This action follows similar measures taken by other countries in the region, such as Colombia, Chile, and Bolivia, who have either severed diplomatic ties or recalled their ambassadors to Israel. The report also notes that countries in the Middle East and Africa, including Turkey, Jordan, and South Africa, have also recalled their ambassadors in recent weeks.

The situation escalated following an offensive by the Palestinian militant group Hamas into Israel on October 7, to which Israel responded with a stringent siege of the Gaza Strip. Since then, Israeli forces have been responsible for the deaths of over 11,000 Palestinians, including thousands of women and children, as per data from the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah. The dire situation in Gaza, characterized by critical conditions in hospitals and acute shortages of food and water, has led to increased international pressure on Israel.

Calls for a ceasefire have been echoed by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who has appealed for peace in Gaza “in the name of humanity.” However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has consistently dismissed the possibility of a ceasefire without the release of hostages held by Hamas. Meanwhile, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has acknowledged that some countries have privately encouraged Israel to pursue a ceasefire, as per CNN’s report.