Colombia to cut diplomatic ties with Israel over Gaza war

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has announced plans to sever diplomatic relations with Israel due to its actions in the Gaza Strip, which critics fear could constitute genocide. Speaking on International Workers’ Day in Bogota, Petro condemned Israel’s government and president, accusing them of genocidal behavior. Petro, a leftist leader who rose to power in 2022, has been a vocal critic of Israel, drawing backlash from Israeli officials and pro-Israel groups.

The tension escalated in October when Petro accused Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant of using language reminiscent of Nazi rhetoric. Israel responded by halting security exports to Colombia. Petro further accused Israel of genocide after deadly attacks on Palestinians in Gaza and suspended Israeli weapons purchases after an incident that he likened to the Holocaust.

The announcement to sever ties comes amidst concerns over a potential Israeli ground offensive in Rafah. Over 34,500 Palestinians have died in Israel’s offensive, leading to a humanitarian crisis. Colombia has sought to join a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing Israel of genocide, with the aim of protecting vulnerable populations in Gaza.

UN findings and a report by Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese have suggested a plausible risk of genocide against Palestinians in Gaza due to Israel’s actions. However, Israel denies these accusations, labeling the reports as distortions of reality.

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