Colombia threatens to break ties with Israel if it doesn’t comply with a UN cease-fire resolution

 

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombian President Gustavo Petro on Tuesday threatened to break off diplomatic ties with Israel if the country doesn’t comply with a U.N. Security Council resolution that calls for an immediate cease-fire in the Gaza Strip.

Petro made the announcement on X, formerly known as Twitter. On Monday, he published another message in which he celebrated the resolution’s approval and urged other nations to suspend ties with Israel if it doesn’t cease its military offensive in the Gaza Strip, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 32,000 people, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry replied to Petro’s threat on Tuesday with a tweet, which said that the Middle Eastern nation will “continue to protect its people and will not give in to any pressures and threats.”

The foreign ministry accused Petro of being a “supporter of Hamas terrorists” who massacred children and women during an Oct. 7 raid on Israeli communities that unleashed the current invasion of Gaza, and said that Petro’s stance is a “disgrace to the Colombian people.”

The confrontation on X signals a growing deterioration in the relations between both nations, which have gone from being military and commercial partners, to becoming bitter ideological rivals.

For decades, Colombia used Israeli-built warplanes and machine guns to fight drug cartels and rebel groups, and both countries signed a free trade agreement in 2020.

But relations began to cool in 2022, when Petro was elected to office.

Petro, a leftist and longtime supporter of the Palestinian cause, has described Israel’s military offensive in Gaza as “genocide.” In February, he suspended military purchases from Israel, after the country’s troops fired on Palestinians who gathered around aid trucks, in a tragedy in which more than 100 people were killed.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry had suspended defense cooperation with Colombia in October, after Petro had failed to condemn the Hamas raid on villages in southern Israel, and instead compared Israel’s military to Nazi troops.

Military analysts in Colombia have said that the deterioration of relations with Israel jeopardizes the South American nation’s defense capabilities.

Colombia depends on Israeli companies for the maintenance of its fleet of more than 20 Israeli-built Kfir jets, which are the only planes in Colombia’s arsenal that are capable of launching laser-guided bombs.

Colombia has also made multiple contracts with Israel for the provision of military communications equipment, and produces assault rifles for its troops under a license from an Israeli manufacturer.

 

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