Colombian Government Severs Relations With Israel

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by Tyler Durden
Thursday, May 02, 2024 - 02:05 AM

It's been no secret that the fiercest and most sustained criticism of Israel's military operation in Gaza has come from Global South countries. Many of these have also supported South Africa's taking Israel before the International Criminal Court (ICC) on allegations of genocide.

But now the next big step is taking place: governments are formally severing ties with Israel and expelling diplomats. On Wednesday Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced that his country will cut relations with Israel over what he called its "genocidal" war against Palestinians. He said this will be formally initiated starting Thursday.

Gustavo Petro, center. Colombian President's Office

"Tomorrow (Thursday) diplomatic relations with the state of Israel will be severed... for having a genocidal president,"  Petro told a May Day rally in Bogota.

"If Palestine dies, humanity dies, and we will not let it die," he said at one point in the speech. Petro is Colombia's first ever leftist president, and he proclaimed that "democratic peoples cannot allow Nazism to reestablish itself in international politics."

However, Bloomberg has noted that his motives could partly be to distract from the ongoing economic crisis in the country:

Petro is looking to counter large anti-government rallies that took place on April 21 and said his administration will send a package of bills to congress meant to boost economic growth.

The package will include measures that force the financial sector to provide cheap financing to productive sectors, Petro said.

“It will consist of bills that generate forced investment in the Colombian private financial system aimed at credits for small, medium, and large industries, agriculture, and tourism in Colombia, to reactivate the country,” he said.

President Petro has for months been a fiery vocal critic of Israel, having first threatened to sever relations with Israel back in March. Already Bolivia had cut ties with Israel by the end of October as the Gaza offensive entered full swing.

At that time Foreign Minister Israel Katz had condemned the Colombian leader's call to cut ties, writing on X that his support for "the Hamas murderers who carried out terrible acts of slaughter and sexual crimes against babies, women and adults is a disgrace to the Colombian people."

"Israel will continue to defend its citizens and will not give in to any pressure or threats," Katz had declared at the time. Israel has already halted security exports to Colombia as of last year following the worsening rift with Bogota in the wake of Oct.7.

Tel Aviv fears that such dramatic actions by Global South and non-aligned governments could spread, damaging trade in some corners of the globe and its standing on the world stage. A similar domino-effect momentum also happened in the late 20th century with apartheid-era South Africa.