Bolivia Recognizes Palestine

Bolivian President Evo Morales
Bolivian President Evo Morales has sent a formal letter to acting Palestinian Authority Chief Mahmoud Abbas recognizing Palestine as an independent and sovereign state.

Morales said in his letter on Wednesday that his government “could not continue waiting with its arms crossed given the problems of human rights, territory and sovereignty.”

He said at a press conference that he recognized Palestine as "an independent and sovereign state... as have other countries like Brazil."

A Foreign Ministry official later confirmed that Bolivia declared its full support for Palestine in the letter.

La Paz cut off diplomatic ties with Israel in January 2009 over Israel's three-week war on Gaza Strip, which killed over 1,400 Palestinians, mostly women and children.

Over 130 countries have officially recognized Palestine as a state based on the 1967 borders, the boundaries that existed before Israel captured East al-Quds (Jerusalem), the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip.

Bolivia now joins the list of South American countries that have recognized a fully sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.

In early December, Argentina, Cuba, Brazil and Venezuela declared recognition of Palestine as a "free and independent state.”

Uruguay has announced plans to do so next year.

The United States has so far refused to recognize an independent Palestinian state.

In mid-December, the House of Representatives passed a resolution, with 435-0 votes, opposing a unilateral declaration of an independent Palestinian state and condemning international recognition of such a state.

It also called on its delegation to the UN Security Council (UNSC) to "veto any resolution by the UNSC to establish or recognize a Palestinian state outside of an agreement negotiated by the two parties."

The House resolution is in stark contrast with the Obama administration's promise from day one to push for the creation of an independent Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.