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Colombia to sever relations with Israel amid 'genocidal' war in Gaza

Addressing a May Day gathering in Bogota on Wednesday, Colombia’s President, Gustavo Petro, described Israel’s siege and bombing of Gaza as a ‘genocide’ and announced that he would cut ties with the occupation state as a result of its actions in the enclave. ‘If Palestine dies, humanity dies,’ he said.

May 1, 2024 at 8:39 pm

Colombia will sever diplomatic relations with Israel due to its “genocidal” war in the besieged Gaza Strip, President Gustavo Petro announced on Wednesday, Anadolu Agency reports.

“Here before you, the government of change, the President of the Republic, informs you that tomorrow diplomatic relations will be broken with the state of Israel for having a genocidal president. Long live the government of change,” Petro told a boisterous crowd of supporters, prompting widespread cheers amid a sea of waving Colombian flags in Bogota’s Plaza de Bolivar.

“Those colours could be summarised in a single word. That reblesses, the need for life, the resold one, the flag heals it and the resistance, the word is called ‘Gaza,’ it is called ‘Palestine,’ it is called ‘the girls, the boys, the babies who died scattered by the bombs,'” he added.

Petro, who had earlier threatened to cut diplomat ties with Israel, was among 18 national leaders that signed on to a US-led statement demanding the release of the roughly 130 hostages that remain in captivity in Gaza following a Hamas-led 7 October, 2023 cross-border attack on Israel that killed less than 1,200 people.

However, since then, it has been revealed by Haaretz that helicopters and tanks of the Israeli army had, in fact, killed many of the 1,139 soldiers and civilians claimed by Israel to have been killed by the Palestinian Resistance.

The statement demanded the release of the remaining hostages, saying doing so would lead to what they called a “credible end of hostilities”.

Israel has, for over half a year, waged a war on Gaza that has resulted in widespread death and destruction in the coastal enclave.

More than 34,500 Palestinians have since been killed and over 76,000 injured. The vast majority of the dead have been women and children. Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Gaza Strip, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) which, in January, issued an interim ruling that ordered it to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

Colombia has requested to join the case alongside South Africa, which brought it to the UN’s top Court in the wake of Israel’s war. Petro previously suspended weapons sales to Israel.

READ: Colombia president accuses Israel of violating UN ceasefire resolution