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New Diplomatic Clash between Israel and Colombia


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New diplomatic clash between Israel and Colombia – Credit: U.S. Goverment

New diplomatic clash has occurred between Israel and Colombia, this time over the words of support of the Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, to his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. The Brazilian president, recently declared “persona non grata” in Israel for comparing the war in Gaza with the Holocaust, received the support of Colombia and Bolivia, countries that have now, not surprisingly, earned Israeli disapproval.

The country’s Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, yesterday called the words of support expressed by Bolivia and Colombia for the Brazilian head of state “outrageous and inciting”. “The president of Brazil was joined by the presidents of Bolivia and Colombia, their words are outrageous and inciting,” Gallant said in an official statement.

The Latin American left and its disagreements with Netanyahu

The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, said on Tuesday in his X account that “in Gaza there is a genocide and thousands of children, women and elderly civilians are being killed. Lula has only told the truth and the truth is defended or barbarism will annihilate us”. All this, after expressing his “full solidarity” to the president of Brazil.

The Colombian president called for the union of the entire region “so that violence ceases immediately in Palestine. The sentence of the International Court of Justice on Israel must generate application and consequences in the diplomatic relations of all the countries of the world”.

This is the latest chapter in the repeated disagreements between the Colombian head of state and the Israeli government, since the Israeli military operation in Gaza began in October. At that time, President Petro made the same comparison that the President of Brazil is making now, between the Israeli military operations in Gaza and the practices of Nazism against the Jewish people during the last century.

Similarly, the president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, also made statements that annoyed the Israeli government. Arce expressed his solidarity with President Lula da Silva and assured “that history will not forgive those who are indifferent to the Palestinian people”. “From the Plurinational State of Bolivia we express all our solidarity and support to the brother president of Brazil, Lula, declared “persona non grata” in Israel for telling the truth about the genocide committed against the brave Palestinian people,” wrote the Bolivian leader in his social networks.

President Arce’s administration broke diplomatic relations with Israel last October, for, it alleged, “the crimes against humanity committed against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip”.

Israel’s response to international questions

The Israeli diplomatic response swiftly followed. Defense Minister Gallant affirmed, “While many around the world, including some leaders, assail us, we, the Jewish people and the State of Israel, must stand firm and united. We must recognize that we are engaged in a just war against a ruthless foe, a terrorist organization.”

Israel’s military operation in Gaza has officially resulted in nearly 30,000 deaths, predominantly civilians. Criticism from global leaders questioning Israeli tactics has elicited strong rebukes from Israeli authorities. The Latin American left, led by Colombian President Gustavo Petro, has been particularly vocal in challenging Netanyahu’s administration. Spain, too, has faced diplomatic tensions for scrutinizing the purported excessive use of Israeli force in the region. The European nation recently declared its intent to sanction Israeli settlers in Palestine if the European Union fails to act.

Likewise, Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ inquiry at the United Nations, linking Israel’s policy of illegal Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory to the criminal assault suffered by Israel on October 7, was met with a forceful Israeli reaction. Israel’s foreign minister accused Guterres of “posing a threat to peace,” even calling for his resignation.

Before the end of last year, South Africa presented the case of alleged genocide by Israel against Gaza civilians to the International Court of Justice. This complaint, endorsed by the Colombian government among others, echoed repeated appeals for a ceasefire to facilitate humanitarian aid to Gaza’s populace.

The court’s ruling, disclosed in late January, merely urged Israel to “prevent genocide” without further condemnation of the Israeli military’s current practices in Palestine or endorsing the ceasefire sought by South African plaintiffs.

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