Colombia Will Terminate Diplomatic Ties With Israel

Gustavo Petro, the President of Colombia, announced on Wednesday that he intends to sever diplomatic ties with Israel due to the manner in which the Middle Eastern nation has conducted its war against Hamas in Gaza.

Petro, when addressing a gathering held on May Day in the central Plaza de Bolívar of Bogotá, expressed his disapproval of Israel for the deaths of “the girls, the boys, and the babies who have died dismembered by the bombs.”

It was he who made the announcement, “Here before you, the government of change, the president of the republic, informs you that tomorrow, diplomatic relations with the State of Israel will be broken.”

As a result of the violence in Gaza, Colombia will join the ranks of Belize and Bolivia as Western Hemisphere states that have terminated or suspended their relations with Israel. If Petro follows through with his threat, Colombia will join its ranks.

Cuba severed its links with Israel in 1973 after taking a side with Egypt during the Yom Kippur War. Venezuela, on the other hand, severed its ties with Israel in 2009 as a response to the Israel-Hamas war that occurred in Gaza in 2008-2009.

The fact that Petro has threatened to do the same is a clear indication of the change in Colombia’s foreign stances that has occurred under his administration.

In the past, Colombia’s relationship with Israel was so strong that the South American nation is the single largest user of the Israeli-made Kfir jet fighter outside of its borders.

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However, Petro, who took office in 2022, comes from a background of hostility to Colombia’s armed forces. When he was a youth in the 1970s, he joined the communist M-19 guerrilla group, which was a small player in the country’s civil war that lasted for fifty years.

According to a report by The Associated Press, Petro made his initial threat to sever relations with Israel in March through a post on social network X. This post was received with a statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry, which stated that Israel “will not give in to any pressures and threats.”

In a post on X, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the most senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, stated that “Today, the President of Colombia, a supporter of Hamas, severed diplomatic relations with Israel.”

Rubio continued by saying, “Very sad to see that such an incredible country of great people who have suffered so much at the hands of narco terrorists is currently ruled by a terrorist sympathizer who wants to be the Colombian Hugo Chavez.” With this statement, he was referring to the Venezuelan leader who severed his country’s ties to Israel.

In his speech on Wednesday, Petro said he took action against Israel because he believes their government and president, likely referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, are genocidal. Israel has a president named Isaac Herzog, but the prime minister is the person who is responsible for most government duties, including directing military operations.

Petro has become more popular in recent months, even though he has made some mistakes in public, like misspelling the name of his own country as “Cokombia” in a post that has since been deleted.

In December, Petro’s approval ratings dropped to 26 percent, but a February poll published by international newspaper El País showed that his approval rating had increased to 35 percent.

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