Colombia's President Gustavo Petro has taken a decisive stance against Israel amidst the recent escalation in the Gaza Strip. In a bold move, he recalled Colombia's ambassador to Israel, warning that Colombia would sever diplomatic ties if Israeli forces continued to target civilians.
“I have decided to recall our ambassador to Israel for consultations. If Israel does not stop the massacre of the Palestinian people, we cannot be there,” President Petro declared. This decision by Petro positions him as one of the first global leaders to label the Israeli military's actions in Gaza as a genocide against Palestinians.
His statements, especially the comparison of Israel to the Nazis, have attracted significant attention and critique. “Now the neo-Nazis want the destruction of the Palestinian people, freedom, and culture,” Petro wrote, causing a significant strain on diplomatic relations.
Israel Responds to Allegations
Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Hayat swiftly reacted to Petro's comments, summoning Colombia's ambassador, Margarita Manjarrez, to address what Israel considered "hostile and anti-Semitic statements." Despite the mounting criticism, Petro didn't back down.
He strongly condemned the rise in armed confrontations against Palestinians and reiterated his steadfast support for the Palestinian cause. “If we have to suspend foreign relations with Israel, we suspend them. We do not support genocides,” he further emphasized.
Chile Joins the Diplomatic Protest
Adding to the diplomatic pressures mounting against Israel, Chile's President Gabriel Boric Font made a similar move. He announced the recall of his ambassador to Israel, Jorge Carvajal, for consultations in Santiago.
Expressing his concerns, Boric Font stated, “Chile strongly condemns and observes with great concern that these military operations - which at this stage of their development involve collective punishment of the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza - do not respect fundamental norms of international law”.
He highlighted the devastating impact on civilians, referencing the more than eight thousand casualties, primarily women and children.