Colombia's President Gustavo Petro orders opening of embassy in Ramallah, West Bank

Ronit Kawale
Ronit Kawale - Senior Editor
3 Min Read

Amid the ongoing war in Gaza, Colombia's President Gustavo Petro has ordered the opening of an embassy in the Palestinian city of Ramallah, Al Jazeera quoted his Foreign Minister Luis Gilberto Murillo as saying.

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“President Petro has ordered that we open the Colombian embassy in Ramallah, which will represent Colombia in Ramallah, this is the next step we are going to take,” Murillo said on Wednesday.

Murillo said he believes more and more countries will soon begin supporting the recognition of Palestinian statehood before the United Nations, and Colombia is already supporting these efforts.

Earlier this month, Petro, who had already recalled the Colombian ambassador from Tel Aviv, said he would break diplomatic ties with Israel because of the war on Gaza. The embassy was closed on 3 May, Al Jazeera reported.

Petro, a leftist leader who will come to power in 2022, is considered part of a progressive wave known as the “pink tide” in Latin America. He has been one of the most outspoken critics of Israel in the region since the start of the war.

Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz accused Petro of being “anti-Semitic and full of hatred” following Colombia's decision to sever ties with Israel and said the move was a reward for Hamas.

In October, just days after the conflict began, Israel said it was “halting security exports” to Colombia after Petro accused Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant of using language similar to “what the Nazis said about Jews.”

In April, Petro also requested South Africa's participation in a case at the International Court of Justice accusing Israel of genocide, Al Jazeera reported.

“Colombia's ultimate goal in this effort is to ensure the immediate and fullest possible protection for Palestinians in Gaza, particularly vulnerable populations such as women, children, persons with disabilities, and the elderly,” the government said.

Ramallah, located in the occupied West Bank, is the administrative capital of the Palestinian Authority.

On May 10, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly supported the Palestinian bid to become a full member of the UN, deeming it eligible to join, and recommended the UN Security Council “favorably reconsider this matter”. . ,

At least 35,647 people have been killed and 79,852 injured in Israeli attacks on Gaza since the war began, while thousands remain missing and are presumed dead under the rubble. Israel attacked the besieged territory after a Hamas-led offensive in southern Israel killed around 1,140 people, Al Jazeera reports.

Colombia was not the first Latin American country to break ties with Israel.

Bolivia cut ties with Israel in late October last year, while several other Latin American countries, including Chile and Honduras, recalled their ambassadors.

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