Ecuador and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1949, shortly after Israel’s founding. However, their relationship has been marked by periods of both cooperation and tension over the years. In the early decades, ties were relatively warm, with Ecuador being one of the first countries to recognize Israel.

In the 1970s and 1980s, relations cooled as Ecuador aligned itself more closely with the Non-Aligned Movement and adopted a more pro-Palestinian stance. This led to a temporary rupture in diplomatic ties from 1973 to 1976.

Relations began to improve again in the 1990s, with increased economic and cultural exchanges. However, tensions resurfaced in the 2000s over issues related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, leading Ecuador to recall its ambassador from Israel in 2009 in protest of Israel’s military operation in Gaza.

Key Milestones:

  • 1949: Ecuador establishes diplomatic relations with Israel
  • 1973-1976: Diplomatic ties temporarily severed
  • 2009: Ecuador recalls its ambassador from Israel over Gaza operation
  • 2011: Ecuador expels Israeli ambassador in solidarity with Palestine
  • 2018: Ecuador opens a commercial office in Jerusalem, angering Palestinians

Despite these ups and downs, both countries have expressed a desire to strengthen their relationship in recent years, particularly in areas such as trade, investment, and technology.

Ecuador’s Stance on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Ecuador has traditionally taken a pro-Palestinian stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, supporting the establishment of an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

At the United Nations, Ecuador has consistently voted in favor of resolutions critical of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians, including those condemning Israeli settlements in the occupied territories and calling for an end to the blockade of Gaza.

However, under the current administration of President Guillermo Lasso, who took office in 2021, Ecuador has signaled a potential shift in its position. In November 2022, Lasso stated that Ecuador would review its voting patterns at the UN regarding Israel, suggesting a more balanced approach.

Areas of Cooperation between Ecuador and Israel

Despite political differences, Ecuador and Israel have maintained cooperation in several areas:

Trade and Investment:

  • Bilateral trade between the two countries has grown steadily in recent years, reaching around $100 million in 2021.
  • Israeli companies have invested in Ecuador’s agriculture, technology, and renewable energy sectors.

Scientific and Technological Collaboration:

  • Ecuador and Israel have signed agreements to cooperate in areas such as water management, agriculture, and biotechnology.
  • Israeli experts have provided training and assistance to Ecuadorian farmers and scientists.

Cultural and Educational Exchanges:

  • The two countries have established student exchange programs and academic partnerships between universities.
  • Israeli artists and performers have participated in cultural events in Ecuador.

Joint Initiatives:

  • In 2019, Ecuador and Israel signed an agreement to cooperate on disaster risk management and emergency response.
  • The two countries have also collaborated on environmental conservation projects.

Challenges and Controversies in the Ecuador-Israel Relationship

While there are areas of cooperation, the relationship between Ecuador and Israel has also faced several challenges and controversies:

  1. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Ecuador’s support for Palestinian statehood and criticism of Israeli policies in the occupied territories have been a source of tension.

  2. The Status of Jerusalem: Ecuador’s decision to open a commercial office in Jerusalem in 2018 was seen by Palestinians as a violation of international law and a recognition of Israel’s claim over the entire city.

  3. Influence of Regional Dynamics: Ecuador’s ties with Israel have been influenced by its relationships with other Latin American countries and regional blocs, some of which have taken a more critical stance towards Israel.

  4. Domestic Politics and Public Opinion: In Ecuador, there have been divisions within the government and society over the country’s approach to Israel, with some advocating for closer ties and others calling for solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

The Role of the Jewish Community in Ecuador

Ecuador has a small but influential Jewish community, estimated to be around 1,000 people, concentrated mainly in the capital city of Quito and the coastal city of Guayaquil.

The Jewish community in Ecuador has played an important role in promoting cultural exchange and understanding between the two countries. They have organized events, exhibitions, and educational programs to showcase Jewish culture and history, as well as to highlight the contributions of Jewish Ecuadorians to the country’s development.

Additionally, the community has been active in advocating for stronger ties between Ecuador and Israel, particularly in areas such as trade, investment, and technology transfer.

Future Prospects for Ecuador-Israel Relations

The future of Ecuador-Israel relations will likely depend on several factors:

  1. Political Developments: The stance of Ecuador’s government towards Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will play a significant role in shaping the relationship. Changes in leadership or shifts in foreign policy priorities could impact the level of cooperation or tension.

  2. Regional Dynamics: Ecuador’s relationships with other Latin American countries and regional blocs, such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), may influence its approach to Israel.

  3. Economic Interests: As both countries seek to expand their trade and investment opportunities, there may be incentives to strengthen economic ties, which could potentially spill over into other areas of cooperation.

  4. International Pressure: The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the broader geopolitical landscape in the Middle East may continue to shape international perceptions and influence Ecuador’s position on the issue.

Despite the challenges, there is potential for further cooperation between Ecuador and Israel in areas of mutual interest, such as technology, agriculture, and environmental protection. However, resolving the long-standing tensions over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will likely be a key factor in determining the overall trajectory of the relationship.

FAQ: Does Ecuador Support Israel

Ecuador has maintained diplomatic ties with Israel since 1948 when Israel declared independence. President Guillermo Lasso has expressed support for expanding ties with Israel and strengthening bilateral relations.

What is Ecuador’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Ecuador has historically supported the rights of the Palestinian people and has called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. The country has also condemned violence from both Israeli forces and Palestinian groups like Hamas.

Has Ecuador taken any official actions regarding Israel and Palestine?

In recent years, Ecuador has affirmed its support for the state of Palestine and its rejection of all forms of violence in the region. The Ecuadorian ambassador to Palestine has reiterated the country’s commitment to the rights of the Palestinian people.

Q: Are there any plans for high-level visits between Ecuador and Israel?

While there are no official visits scheduled at the moment, there have been discussions about potential visits to Israel by Ecuadorian officials to strengthen diplomatic ties between the two countries.

How does Ecuador’s position on Israel compare to other countries in Latin America?

Ecuador’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict aligns with other Latin American countries, such as Bolivia and Peru, which have also expressed support for the rights of the Palestinian people and called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

Does Ecuador have an embassy in Israel or vice versa?

Ecuador does not have an embassy in Israel, and vice versa. However, there have been discussions about potentially opening diplomatic missions in the future to strengthen relations between the two countries.

How does Ecuador’s position on Israel impact its relations with other countries in the region?

Ecuador’s position on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can influence its relations with other countries in Latin America. For example, its alignment with countries like Colombia and Bolivia on this issue can impact regional diplomacy and cooperation.

Why doesn’t Ecuador have an embassy in Israel? 

Ecuador does not currently have an embassy in Israel, although it maintains diplomatic relations with the country. The decision not to establish an embassy in Israel is likely influenced by Ecuador’s support for the Palestinian cause and its position on the status of Jerusalem.

How many Israelis live in Ecuador? 

According to estimates, there are around 200-300 Israeli citizens living in Ecuador, primarily in the capital city of Quito and the coastal city of Guayaquil.

What is Ecuador’s position on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement? 

Ecuador has not officially endorsed the BDS movement, which calls for boycotts and sanctions against Israel over its treatment of Palestinians. However, some Ecuadorian organizations and individuals have expressed support for the movement’s goals.

Has Ecuador ever voted against Israel at the United Nations? 

Yes, Ecuador has frequently voted in favor of resolutions critical of Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians at the United Nations General Assembly and other UN bodies.

Are there direct flights between Ecuador and Israel? 

No, there are currently no direct flights between Ecuador and Israel. Travelers must connect through other countries, such as the United States or Europe.