The Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has requested through a letter that the President of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, intercede on behalf of the hostages still held by Hamas in Gaza. The Israeli leader sent this letter on January 11, indicating that among the hostages is a Colombian national named Elkana Bohbot.
In the letter, the Jewish leader requested mediation from the Colombian president, who has been highly critical since the beginning of Israel’s military intervention in the Gaza Strip. The request aims to secure the release of the ‘136 hostages’ still held by Hamas. This request comes after three months of criminal actions by the Palestinian group, during which ‘240 people of various nationalities were brutally kidnapped from their homes and a from a music festival,’ while another 1,200 were killed.
“Saving innocent lives”
The letter, as revealed by Semana magazine, also states, “Colombia shares a common cause with Israel in the fight for the immediate release of the hostages.” Netanyahu conveys to Petro that “any pressure that can be exerted towards this goal, particularly with Iran, Qatar, or Turkey, as well as with the Red Cross, will be invaluable and will contribute to saving innocent lives.”
Since October 7, 2023, when Hamas militants infiltrated Israeli territory in a surprise and premeditated criminal operation, Israel initiated a military campaign with the aim of eradicating the criminal group entirely.
Collaborating despite differences
In response to this request, the Israeli government seeks collaboration from one of the first leaders of a country to protest and express dissent against Israel’s actions towards the Palestinian territory and its people. Since the start of the offensive in Gaza, the Colombian president has vehemently criticized Israel and accused the Israeli government of ‘genocide’ and Nazi-like practices against the Strip’s civilian population.
This provoked the response of Israeli officials, which threatened to break commercial relations with Colombia. There were weeks of disagreements, with Colombia attempting to smooth things over, but without ever retracting Petro’s harsh words against Israel’s military response.
Netanyahu had also clashes with other world leaders, such as the Spanish president Pedro Sánchez, and even the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres. The offensive to eliminate Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, has not yet ended. For now, the death toll exceeds 26,000, many of them civilians, including thousands of children.