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Colombia to Sever Diplomatic Ties with Israel Over Gaza Conflict, President Petro Announces

War

Petro Accuses Israeli Leader of Genocide, Prompts Strong Response from Israel

  • Colombia to sever diplomatic ties with Israel over Gaza conflict, as announced by President Gustavo Petro.
  • Petro accuses Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu of being “genocidal.”
  • Israel responds strongly, calling Petro “anti-Semitic and hateful.”
  • Colombia and Brazil, in a collaborative effort, endorse South Africa’s grievance against Israel at the International Court of Justice, alleging a breach of the Genocide Convention.
  • Colombian citizens at May Day rallies express support for Petro’s decision.
  • The move marks a significant shift in Colombia’s foreign policy and could have substantial regional implications.
  • Global observers are closely monitoring the unfolding situation.

Colombia is set to sever diplomatic ties with Israel, President Gustavo Petro announced on Wednesday, accusing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of being “genocidal” in the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The decision, which comes amidst heightened global tensions over the Gaza crisis, has sparked a strong response from Israel.

Addressing a May Day rally in Bogota, Petro declared that the world cannot accept “genocide, the extermination of an entire people.” He stated, “Tomorrow (Thursday) diplomatic relations with the state of Israel will be severed… for having a genocidal president.”

Petro has been a vocal critic of Israel’s military offensive in Gaza, which followed an unprecedented Hamas attack on southern Israel on October 7. The conflict has resulted in the deaths of over 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to Israeli figures. Hamas militants also took about 250 hostages, 129 of whom remain in Gaza, including 34 Israel says are presumed dead.

Diplomatic tensions rise as Colombia severs ties with Israel / Creative Commons

The Colombian president’s announcement was met with loud applause from the crowd, some of whom flew pro-Palestinian banners. Petro has previously accused Israel of using language about the people of Gaza similar to what the “Nazis said of the Jews.”

Israel responded swiftly to Petro’s announcement. Foreign Minister Israel Katz described Petro as “anti-Semitic and hateful” and accused him of rewarding Hamas. “The Colombian president has promised to reward Hamas murderers and rapists — and today he delivered,” Katz said.

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Katz further stated, “History will remember that Gustavo Petro decided to stand by the most despicable monsters humanity has known, who burned babies, murdered children, raped women and kidnapped innocent civilians.”

In October, days after the start of the war, Israel announced it was “halting security exports” to Colombia after Petro’s accusations. Colombia subsequently demanded that Israel’s envoy leave the South American country.

Petro, Colombia’s first leftist president, has also accused Israel of allowing Nazism to reestablish itself in international politics. In February, he suspended Israeli weapons purchases after dozens of people died in a scramble for food aid in the war-torn Palestinian territory — an event he said was “called genocide and recalls the Holocaust.”

Colombia
Global observers monitor the unfolding diplomatic crisis between Colombia and Israel / Creative Commons

Colombia’s military, embroiled in a lengthy conflict against various factions including guerrillas, paramilitaries, and drug cartels, utilizes weaponry and aircraft of Israeli origin. The nation has a longstanding history of robust diplomatic and military connections with both Israel and the United States.

Colombia’s military, embroiled in a lengthy conflict against various factions including guerrillas, paramilitaries, and drug cartels, utilizes weaponry and aircraft of Israeli origin. The nation has a longstanding history of robust diplomatic and military connections with both Israel and the United States.

President Petro has also shown unity with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who faced criticism from Israel after characterizing their Gaza operation as “not a war, but a genocide.” Colombia and Brazil together backed South Africa’s complaint against Israel at the International Court of Justice, alleging a breach of the Genocide Convention during the Gaza conflict.

Sandra Gutierrez, a 38-year-old teacher participating in Colombia’s May Day rallies, commended Petro’s move, stressing that one cannot support violence.

The choice to cut diplomatic ties with Israel signifies a major shift in Colombia’s international relations and may have considerable consequences for the region. As the events continue to develop, the world is watching closely.

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