A free trade agreement between Israel and Mercosur entered into force in September, following Argentinian approval of the deal in August. In an email interview, Arie M. Kacowicz, a professor of international relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, discussed Israel-South American relations.
WPR: What is the recent history of Israel's diplomatic relations with South America?
Arie M. Kacowicz: Israel has managed to maintain cordial diplomatic relations with most of the countries of South America, with the exception of Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, with which relations deteriorated following the Second Lebanon War of 2006 and the war in Gaza of 2008-2009. In the past two and a half years, the Israeli Foreign Ministry has intensified its contacts with several South American countries. However, in December 2010, Israel suffered a significant diplomatic debacle when a series of South American countries followed Brazil's lead and recognized a Palestinian state. Colombia was the sole exception.