Peru Withdraws Israel Envoy in Gaza Protest

Israel said it was ‘disappointed’ today at the Peruvian government’s decision to recall its ambassador in protest at the this week’s escalation in the conflict in Gaza.

The Israeli government regretted Peru’s decision to call back Jose Luis Salinas from Tel Aviv on Tuesday, saying it was “a friend country”, with which it shares “more than half a century of good bilateral relations.”

Peru cited Israel’s renewed military offensive, which has resulted in mounting civilian casualties, after it broke a ceasefire on Monday.

Brazil, Chile, Ecuador and El Salvador are other Latin American states to withdraw their ambassadors, as protest grows on the continent at Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.

The events in the Middle East were “a new and reiterated contravention of the fundamental rules of international humanitarian law,” Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement issued Tuesday.

The Israeli government responded in yesterday’s statement: “there’s no doubt that if terrorist extremist attacked Peru with 3,000 rockets and missiles in a month, the Peruvian government would have reacted in the same manner that Israel does today.”

Israel, which welcomed Peru’s President Humala with military honors in a state visit this February, reiterated its past support to Peru throughout its own struggle against terrorism during the 1980s and 1990s.

Israel said Hamas was responsible for civilian deaths, “using the population as human shields”.

Palestine’s ambassador in Peru, Walid Abdel Rahim, welcomed the recall and said it was a “condemnation of the war crimes that are occurring in Gaza,” in comments to the Andina state news agency.

Peru’s actions come as other Latin American countries step up their criticism of Israel in a conflict that has claimed the lives of more than 1,370 Palestinians, 59 Israeli soldiers as of July 30., after intensifying on July 8.

The presidents of Venezuela, Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina condemned the Israel’s “disproportionate use of force ” in a joint statement issued at the summit of the Mercosur economic trade bloc in Caracas on Tuesday.

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