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The leftist government of Bolivian President Evo Morales said Wednesday it is breaking off diplomatic ties with Israel, making it the first country to do so as a result of Operation Cast Lead.
The Israeli operation "seriously threatened world peace," Morales said. He called for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to face criminal charges, and said President Shimon Peres should be stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize for failing to stop the invasion.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Jerusalem had not yet received official word of the rupture in relations. "Breaking off ties is neither wise nor good for Bolivia or Israel," the official said.
The official added, however, that there were only very minimal relations in any event with Bolivia. Israel shut its embassy there five years ago, and since then has been represented to La Paz by Israel's ambassador to Peru.
Bolivia has no representation in Israel. According to the official, there are only some 500 Bolivian Jews.
The Bolivian decision comes just days after Venezuela expelled Israel's ambassador from Caracas. Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Ecuador are allies and make up a radical bloc in South America.
Morales chided the United Nations' "Insecurity Council" for its "lukewarm" response to the crisis. He called for the UN to hold an emergency general session to condemn the Gaza operation.
AP contributed to this report