The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, announced this Thursday (29) the suspension of weapons purchases from Israel. The measure was taken after Israeli soldiers fired at Palestinians who had gathered in Gaza City to receive humanitarian aid. More than a hundred people died.

Petro said that the Israeli action “is called genocide and resembles the Holocaust, even if world powers do not like to recognize it.” The Colombian also said that the world should “block Netanyahu”. In his publication, the president also released the video of the Israeli Armed Forces shooting at Palestinians.

“The death toll in the Al Rashid Street massacre (where food was distributed) is 104 dead and 760 injured,” Hamas Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf Al Qudra said. Israeli military officials admitted to the incident, saying the soldiers felt “intimidated” and therefore fired.

The measure is more symbolic than practical, as trade between countries is not significant. According to the United Nations (UN) trade data platform Comtrade, Israel exported around US$138.8 million in products to Colombia in 2022. Of these, US$283,000 were weapons, ammunition and accessories.

On Monday (26), the National Liberation Army (ELN) issued a statement supporting the Colombian president’s stance in relation to the massacre in Gaza. According to the Colombian armed group, diplomatic relations between the countries “should have already been terminated”.

Diplomatic relations between Colombia and Israel were strained after the attacks in Gaza began. Colombia was one of the first countries to denounce what it called “genocide” against Palestinians. Eight days after the start of conflicts between Israel and Hamas, Petro said that he “does not support genocide” and that he could break relations with Tel Aviv.

The following day, Israel halted the export of defense products to Colombia. The measure was a response to Petro’s speeches. The Colombian ambassador to the country was even summoned to provide clarifications regarding the chief executive’s criticism.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said on Thursday that Israel has killed more than 25,000 Palestinian women and children since October in the Gaza Strip.

Editing: Lucas Estanislau


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