Nov 16, 2023 - World

Which countries have withdrawn diplomats over Israel's actions in Gaza

Countries that have withdrawn their ambassadors from Israel
Data: Axios Research, UN; Graphic: Rahul Mukherjee/Axios

Dozens of countries around the world have called on Israel to show more restraint in the war in Gaza, while a smaller number have gone a step further by severing relations or making other official diplomatic protests.

Why it matters: The moves underscore the growing dissent as international calls for a calls for a ceasefire have grown, as the humanitarian situation in Gaza has deteriorated.

  • Israel has rejected calls for a temporary ceasefire without the release of hostages but has agreed to humanitarian pauses under select circumstances.
  • Belize this week became the latest to take action in protest of Israel's tactics, following several countries in the Middle East and Africa and a number of left-wing governments in Latin America.

Countries in the Americas

Belize announced Tuesday that it was suspending diplomatic ties while reiterating its call for an "immediate ceasefire."

  • Belize said it was withdrawing the appointment of its Honorary Consul in Tel Aviv.
  • It also withdrew its accreditation for Israel's ambassador to Belize and noted that all of the Israeli Honorary Consulate in Belize's activities have been suspended.

Chile recalled its ambassador to Israel late last month, citing "unacceptable violations of International Humanitarian Law that Israel has incurred in the Gaza Strip," the Chilean Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

  • Chile's President Gabriel Boric has called Israel's actions disproportionate and a violation of international humanitarian law, Reuters reported.

Colombia recalled its ambassador to Israel last month while condemning the civilian deaths in Gaza.

  • "If Israel does not stop the massacre of the Palestinian people we cannot be there," Colombian President Gustavo Petro wrote on X about the decision.

Honduras recalled its ambassador to Israel in light of the "grave humanitarian situation" for Palestinian civilians in Gaza, Foreign Minister Enrique Reina announced on X earlier this month.

Bolivia announced last month that it was severing diplomatic ties with Israel in response to Israel's "aggressive and disproportionate" attacks on Gaza.

  • Bolivia had previously severed diplomatic ties in 2009 in protest over fighting in Gaza, but reestablished them in 2020.

The other side: Israel has condemned Bolivia, Chile and Colombia for their stances, AP reported.

Countries in Africa

South Africa announced last week that it was recalling all of its diplomats from Tel Aviv "for consultation."

  • The South African government cited several reasons for the move, including "the refusal of the Israeli government to respect international law" and its "genocidal airstrikes" against Palestinians.
  • South Africa has not had an ambassador in Israel since 2018.

Chad recalled its chargé d'affaires to Israel earlier this month.

  • "Chad condemns the loss of human lives of many innocent civilians and calls for a ceasefire leading to a lasting solution to the Palestinian question," Chad's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

Countries in the region

Turkey also recalled its ambassador to Israel earlier this month, citing the "unfolding humanitarian tragedy in Gaza" and Israel's refusal to heed calls for a ceasefire, according to a statement from its Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel earlier this month and accused Israel of creating an "unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe" and threatening regional security in the Middle East, per a Jordanian foreign ministry statement.

  • The statement added that Jordan had directed Israel's Foreign Ministry to inform its own ambassador — who was not in Jordan at the time — not to return. Israel evacuated its embassy in Jordan in the early days of the war.
  • Flashback: Jordan first established diplomatic relations with Israel in a historic 1994 peace treaty.

Bahrain's government confirmed a statement from parliament this month that it had recalled its ambassador to Israel and that Israel's ambassador to Bahrain had returned home, Reuters reported.

  • Yes, but: Israel denied being notified of any change in relations and said relations between the countries were "stable." Israel evacuated its embassy in Bahrain last month for security reasons, along with other embassies in the region, Axios' Barak Ravid reports.
  • The statement from parliament also claimed Bahrain had severed economic ties, but the government did not confirm that. Bahrain's parliament does not direct the country's foreign relations.

What to watch: Saudi mega deal's fate unclear

Prior to the outbreak of war, Israel and Saudi Arabia were on the cusp of signing a mega-deal that would include the normalization of ties between them.

  • While it remains to be seen how the Israel-Hamas war will ultimately impact the fate of the deal, Saudi Arabia assured the Biden administration at the end of October that it was still interested in reaching an agreement.
  • The latest: At a summit over the weekend, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman criticized "flagrant Israeli violations of international laws" and Saudi officials joined other Arab and Muslim leaders in calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, Reuters reported.
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