Argentina condemns Israel’s bombing on Gaza refugee camp that killed more than 50 people as Bolivia severs diplomatic relationship and other South American nations recall ambassadors

The Argentine government has condemned Israel’s bombing on a Gaza Strip refugee camp, where more than 50 people were killed Tuesday.

The foreign ministry on Wednesday questioned the attack in the Jabalya camp, which the Israeli government said was a successful hit on top Hamas commander Ibrahim Biari.

The Israeli military pounded the camp Wednesday, reportedly taking out Hamas terrorists and destroying a building that served as a command center. The Palestinian health ministry said dozens were killed.

Tuesday’s death toll drew widespread condemnation across the international community, including in Argentina, home to Latin America’s largest Jewish community.

‘The deepening violence in the Gaza Strip is causing an increasing number of victims. The civilian population, particularly women, children and the elderly, is the one most affected by this conflict. Likewise, the increase in violence in the West Bank is worrying,’ the Argentine foreign ministry statement read.

A Palestinian man carries the body of a baby recovered from the rubble of the Jabalya refugee following Wednesday’s bombing of a camp in the Gaza Strip, where dozens reportedly died. Argentina joined Bolivia, Chile and Colombia in condemning Israel for the continuous military strikes

Israeli bombing attack on an area inside the Gaza Strip as seen from a position inside southern Israel on Tuesday. More than 50 people were killed in the attack, including top Hamas commander Ibrahim Biari

Argentina said that while it also condemned the October 7 terrorist attacks launched by Hamas that killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians, led to the kidnapping of 240 people.

And while it has also acknowledged that Israel has the right to defend itself, the foreign ministry stressed that ‘nothing justifies the violation of international humanitarian law, and the obligation to protect the civilian population in armed conflicts, without making any distinction.’

The Argentine government’s stance on the Middle East conflict came a day after Bolivia severed its diplomatic ties with Israel due to the continuous attacks on the Gaza Strip.

Deputy Foreign Minister Freddy Mamani said in a press conference that Bolivia ‘decided to break diplomatic relations with the Israeli state in repudiation and condemnation of the aggressive and disproportionate Israeli military offensive taking place in the Gaza Strip.’

Still image from video footage shows Palestinians checking the destruction in the aftermath of an Israeli strike on the Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday. The Palestinian health ministry said dozens were killed

Colombia, Chile and Brazil joined Bolivia in calling for an immediate ceasefire. Bolivia and Chile have pushed for the passage of humanitarian aid into the zone and accusing Israel of violating international law.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro called Tuesday’s attack a ‘massacre of the Palestinian people’ in a post on the social media network X, formerly known as Twitter, and pleased with both sides to work towards a peace deal.

‘Even in the midst of pain and the unforgivable, the best of humanity has to be born. Even in the midst of unleashed barbarism, the Israeli and Palestinian people have to find the paths of reconciliation,’ Petro wrote. ‘How will the word peace emerge in the midst of so much hatred and horror? It will arise from the word and not from weapons.’

Bolivia is among the first countries to actively break diplomatic relations with Israel over its war in Gaza. It had previously cut ties with Israel in 2009 under the government of leftist President Evo Morales, also in protest against Israel’s actions in Gaza.

In 2020, the government of right-wing interim President Jeanine Anez reestablished ties.

‘We reject the war crimes being committed in Gaza. We support international initiatives to guarantee humanitarian aid, in compliance with international law,’ Bolivian President Arce said on social media on Monday.

An Israeli helicopter gunship bombs an area in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday

A man sits on debris after an Israeli military air strike in the Jabalya refugee camp in Gaza City on Wednesday

Gaza health authorities say that 8,525 people, including 3,542 children, have been killed in Israeli attacks since October 7.

United Nations officials estimate that more than 1.4 million of Gaza’s civilian population of about 2.3 million have been made homeless.

The Israel military has accused Iran-backed Hamas, which rules the narrow coastal territory, of using civilian buildings as cover for fighters, commanders and weaponry, accusations it denies.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said Wednesday that Israel’s air strikes on the Jabalya refugee camp could amount to war crimes.

Given the high number of civilian casualties & the scale of destruction following Israeli airstrikes on Jabalia refugee camp, we have serious concerns that these are disproportionate attacks that could amount to war crimes,’ the human rights office wrote on X.