Colombia and Israel: Breaking Ties Over Gaza Conflict

Last Updated: June 19, 2024By

Colombia and Israel: Breaking Ties Over Gaza Conflict

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Colombia’s president, Gustavo Petro, has announced that his country will cut off diplomatic relations with Israel. This big decision comes after a heated disagreement between the two nations about the war in Gaza.

During a May Day rally in Bogotá on Wednesday, Petro didn’t hold back his thoughts, calling Israel’s actions in Gaza “genocide.” He went further, saying, “Tomorrow, diplomatic relations with the state of Israel will be broken … for having a genocidal president,” and added, “If Palestine dies, humanity dies, and we are not going to let it die.”

Israel didn’t take these words lightly. Israel’s foreign minister, Israel Katz, fired back, saying, “History will remember that Gustavo Petro decided to side with the most despicable monsters known to mankind who burned babies, murdered children, raped women, and kidnapped innocent civilians.”

This feud started after the October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel, which left around 1,200 people dead and triggered the current war in Gaza. Petro had harshly criticized what he called “neo-Nazi” efforts to destroy the Palestinian people and their culture.

The World Jewish Congress slammed Petro, accusing him of ignoring the Israeli civilian victims and called his statement “an insult to the 6 million victims of the Holocaust and to the Jewish people.”

Israel went on to accuse Petro of “expressing support for the atrocities committed by Hamas terrorists, fueling antisemitism,” and summoned Colombia’s ambassador for a stern talking-to.

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This spat is a big deal because Israel has been one of Colombia’s main arms suppliers. In response to the feud, Israel said it was “halting security exports” to Colombia.

Traditionally, Colombia and Israel have been close allies in Latin America. But since Petro became Colombia’s first leftist president in 2022, things have cooled down.

Colombia has relied on Israeli warplanes and machine guns to fight drug cartels and rebel groups. Both countries even signed a free trade agreement in 2020.

“Relations between Israel and Colombia always were warm, and no antisemitic and hate-filled president will succeed in changing that,” Katz wrote on Tuesday. “The state of Israel will continue to defend its citizens without worry and without fear.”

Colombia’s military ties with Israel date back to the late 1980s, with the purchase of Kfir fighter jets. These jets were used in numerous attacks on guerrilla camps, weakening the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) and leading to peace talks and disarmament in 2016.

Petro isn’t alone in his stance. He’s backed Brazil’s president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who also faced backlash from Israel for calling its Gaza actions “genocide.”

Colombia and Brazil are both supporting South Africa’s complaint against Israel to the international court of justice in The Hague, accusing Israel’s Gaza actions of breaching the genocide convention.

What This Means for Colombia and Israel

Cutting off diplomatic relations is a huge move and signals a major shift in Colombia’s foreign policy. It’s not just about words; it’s about action and taking a stand.

The Future of Military Ties

With Israel stopping security exports, Colombia might have to look elsewhere for military supplies. This could mean a big shake-up in how Colombia fights its internal battles against drug cartels and rebels.

A New Era for Colombia

Petro’s decision shows he’s willing to take bold steps, even if it means upsetting long-standing allies. It also highlights his commitment to defending Palestine, no matter the cost.

How Will This Affect Colombia’s Relations with Other Countries?

This move could set the stage for new alliances and partnerships. Other countries watching might decide to support or distance themselves based on their stance on the Gaza conflict.

In the end, this situation is a reminder of how interconnected global politics can be. One decision can ripple out and affect many lives and international relations.


What are your thoughts on Petro’s decision? Do you think it’s a bold move or a risky gamble? Let’s chat about it!

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