Colombia to open embassy in Palestine after president blasts Israel's 'genocide' in Gaza
Colombian President Gustavo Petro announced late on Thursday that his country will open a new embassy in the Palestinian city of Ramallah in the West Bank, after meeting with Israel’s ambassador to Colombia Gali Dagan and Palestinian ambassador Raouf Al-Maliki.
Petro posted on X, formerly known as Twitter, to outline his strategy to both open an embassy in Ramallah and send humanitarian aid to Gaza, as Israel’s indiscriminate attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip continue.
“I have expressed my position to achieve an international peace conference that opens the way for two independent and free states. I reiterated my solidarity with Israeli and Palestinian children, who must and have the right to live in peace," he said on X following the meeting.
“We will send a plane with humanitarian aid to the outskirts of Gaza waiting for a humanitarian corridor to open. Colombia will open its embassy in Ramallah, Palestine,” he added.
El presidente de Colombia, Gustavo Petro, anuncia la apertura de una embajada colombiana en Palestina. El mandatario hizo el anuncio tras reunirse por aparte con los embajadores palestino e israelí https://t.co/LYAvv1B7g9— EL PAÍS (@el_pais) October 20, 2023
Since the start of Israel's assault on Gaza, which has led to the deaths of at least 4,385 Palestinians, including 1,756 children, Petro has focused his social media activity on highlighting the plight of the Palestinian people.
In a statement posted on X on October 9, Petro criticised Israel’s indiscriminate strikes in Gaza and shared graphic images of Palestinian children who were killed by the Israeli bombs.
"The only way for Palestinian children to sleep in peace is for Israeli children to sleep in peace. The only way for Israeli children to sleep in peace is for Palestinian children to sleep in peace," the Colombian president said.
“That will never be achieved by war, only by a peace agreement that respects international law and the right of both peoples to coexist freely,” he adde.
The Colombian president compared the conditions in the Gaza Strip to those of a concentration camp, and in other messages he wrote that Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is equivalent to “genocide.”
Petro’s comments have caused tensions between Colombia and Israel, as Israel had been one of Colombia’s main suppliers of war planes, surveillance equipment and assault rifles since the 1990s, AP reported.
Israel has announced its intent to suspend military exports to Colombia, while Pedro threatened to cut diplomatic relations with Israel and blamed the country for the growth of paramilitary groups in Colombia.
“If we must suspend relations with Israel, then that is what we will do,” Petro wrote on X. “From the people of Israel, I demand help for the construction of peace in Colombia, in Palestine and in the world.”
Agencies contributed to this report