Colombia will not buy weapons from countries that did not support the ceasefire in Gaza. With this statement, Colombian President Gustavo Petro continues his verbal and diplomatic battle against Israel and the ongoing war in the Gaza Strip, which has already claimed the lives of over 11,500 Palestinians, the vast majority being civilians.
Through his X account, the Colombian president indicated that the country will not purchase arms from states that opposed the proposal for a ceasefire in this Middle Eastern region. He also defined Colombia’s stance regarding the Palestinian people and their claim for recognition by the United Nations.
This means that Colombia would cease trading arms with countries such as the United States, Germany, Italy, and Great Britain, countries that abstained in the vote, and of course, Israel.
120 countries vote in favor of a ceasefire in Gaza
The UN General Assembly approved, in a late October vote and by an overwhelming majority (120 in favor, 14 against, and 45 abstentions), a resolution calling for ‘the cessation of hostilities’ in Gaza, the first by a UN body after four failed attempts by the Security Council.
The resolution, passed despite the rejection of the United States and Israel, calls for ‘rejecting the forced displacement of the Palestinian civilian population.’ The text gained approval from the Arab world, Russia, and China, while the European Union voted divided, as is customary in the European body, unable to reach agreements on highly international matters. In this regard, France, Spain, and Portugal voted in favor; Hungary, Croatia, Czech Republic, and Austria voted against, while Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Greece, and Poland, among others, abstained.
The resolution isn’t binding, as none of the General Assembly resolutions are, due to the Security Council’s veto power, but it echoes the general sentiment of a large part of the world, including the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, who was previously heavily criticized by Israeli diplomacy for mentioning the ‘decades of occupation of Palestine’ as part of the root causes of violence in the Middle East.
The vote allowed the Colombian president to demonstrate that his country is aligned with ‘the vast majority’ of the world, which voted for the ceasefire. ‘Silence in Israel’s speech and strong applause for Palestine’s. The world speaks,’ Gustavo Petro pointed out.
President’s condemnation of the killing of Palestinian civilians
In this context, President Petro’s condemnations of Israel for its response to Hamas’ criminal attack on October 7th have not stopped. After more than a month of counteroffensive actions in the Gaza Strip, which has led to the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people towards the southern part of the strip, bordering Egypt, casualties and images of the Israeli attack depict victims, primarily civilians, attacks on refugee camps, and even hospitals.
Israel’s government justifies these actions based on the use, as they claim, by Hamas militants of Palestinian civilians as human shields and defense actions against the Jewish army.
However, Petro referred to the attack at the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza, calling it a ‘carnage unleashed by Netanyahu.’ He later confirmed the Colombian state’s determination before the international body.
Recognition of Palestine as a State
“Colombia will propose in the United Nations that Palestine be accepted as a full state,” President Petro said, maintaining the line of promoting international recognition for this community as a country, with the same rights as Israel.
Similarly, the Head of State affirmed that ‘Colombia will not buy weapons from producing countries that voted against or abstained in the proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza at the United Nations.’ With this announcement, Petro reaffirmed his stance on the conflict in the Middle East, which has led to various episodes of diplomatic crises and threats from Israel. This new step by the Colombian president also jeopardizes international relations with countries considered, up to now, allies.
Criticism of Semana magazine
However, Gustavo Petro furthered his criticisms, questioning the role of certain media outlets that accused him of ‘aligning with the axis of evil,’ countries like Iran, Russia, Cuba, or North Korea, although Colombia’s positioning in the UN vote was shared by 144 more countries, those who voted in favor of the proposal to declare Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, illegal.
“The Fake News magazine said I was part of the axis of evil; look at where Colombia stands, see if the majority of the world isn’t seeking Justice, see if Colombia isn’t supporting that struggle. See who is on the side of death and who is on the side of Life,” the Colombian president wrote in an apparent reference to Semana magazine, an ultraconservative media outlet frequently critical of the government.