Bolivia and Venezuela have become the first countries in the world to cut diplomatic ties with Israel over the conflict in Gaza.President Evo Morales made the announcement in a speech to diplomats in the government palace in La Paz. He referred to the Israeli offensive in Gaza as a “genocide”. Morales is a close ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who expelled Israel’s ambassador to his country on January the 6th, in protest over Gaza. Caracas accused Israel of what it said were “flagrant violations of international law” and of using “state-sponsored terrorism” against the Palestinians. Israel maintains the offensive is aimed at ending cross-border rocket attacks by militants in Gaza.