1706237191 Netanyahu asks Petro to intercede for the Hamas hostages including

Netanyahu asks Petro to intercede for the Hamas hostages, including a Colombian

Netanyahu asks Petro to intercede for the Hamas hostages including

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter to Colombian President Gustavo Petro asking for his intercession for the 136 people still being held by Hamas as of October 7 last year, including a Colombian citizen. In the letter, dated January 11 but published this Thursday, Netanyahu asserts that both countries have the “common cause” to fight for the release of those kidnapped during the armed group's hostilities on Israeli soil, and that this triggered a violent reaction from the government that caused more than 25,000 deaths in Gaza in three months.

In the statement, the Israeli leader recalled that three months have passed since the hostages were “brutally” abducted from their homes and a music festival, one of the venues most affected by the Hamas attack in October. He also claims that many of those abducted witnessed their relatives being “raped, mutilated, tortured and horribly massacred in front of them.” Among those kidnapped, Netanyahu continues, is the Colombian Elkana Bohbot, who, like the other kidnapped people, was denied support from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Netanyahu's text is also a presentation by the prime minister in which he reiterates that Iran has supported Hamas for many years, without this implying “international censorship” as is the case with Qatar and Turkey , to whom, he says, he gives refuge the leaders of this group who are carrying out “a campaign of terror against Israel.” It also alleges that the Red Cross was “unacceptably passive” in its requests for Hamas hostages and avoided pointing out the group's guilt in “violating the most basic norms of civilized behavior.” He also calls for the fight against “terrorism”: “Every pressure that can be exerted with this goal.” [la liberación de los rehenes]particularly against Iran, Qatar and Turkey, will, like the Red Cross, be invaluable and help save innocent lives.”

Less than a month before Hamas invaded Israel, Petro spoke at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, where he not only insisted on the gravity of the global climate crisis but also mentioned the need to open two peace negotiating tables, one for Ukraine and the other for Palestine, a request he extended to the entire organization. “What is the difference between Ukraine and Palestine? “Isn’t it time to end both wars?” he asked at the time. He also said: “The same reasons expressed in defense.” [el presidente de Ucrania, Volodimir] Zelensky, these are the same reasons why Palestine should be defended.”

Because of its conciliatory tone, Netanyahu's letter represents both a break and a new chapter in the tensions maintained by Israel and Colombia following the offensive in the Gaza Strip. Since the conflict in this region of the Middle East has intensified, President Petro has been among Latin American leaders to denounce the excesses of the Israeli army, which the Netanyahu government has justified as a legitimate defensive measure. A few hours after the escalation of tensions in October and in the middle of a message exchange on Twitter with the Israeli ambassador to Colombia, Gali Dagan, Petro wrote: “I have already been to the Auschwitz concentration camp and now I see how it continues.” Loop”. The Comment sparked rejection in the Jewish community.

Days later, on October 15, following Petro's comments, Israel announced that it would stop sending security teams to the country. It was Dagan himself who reported the decision and, moreover, that the Colombian ambassador to Israel, Margarita Manjarrez, had been ordered to reprimand by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, in which she was told that the president's words “incite anti-Semitism and representatives affect”. of the State of Israel and threaten the peace of the Jewish community in Colombia.” Petro responded and already described Israel's actions in Gaza as “genocide”: “If foreign relations with Israel have to be suspended, we will suspend them.” We do not support genocides. “The president of Colombia is not offended.”


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However, Petro's criticism of Israel was not limited to social media or Colombia's borders. On the contrary, he has reiterated his positions in several of the largest forums in world geopolitics. At COP28, the climate summit at the end of 2023 in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), the president said: “Let us imagine a fusion, a combination of facts: the forecast of the climate crisis in five or ten years and the current genocide of the Palestinian people. Are these events unrelated or are we looking at a mirror of the immediate future?” He also announced the opening of a Colombian embassy in Ramallah, the Palestinian administrative capital, in the West Bank, and said he would ask the United Nations to to admit Palestine as a full member.

On the other hand, the Colombian government has supported the complaint filed by its South African counterpart on January 11 at the United Nations International Court of Justice accusing the Israeli executive of inciting genocide in Gaza. According to South Africa, it is the “first genocide in history in which the victims document their own destruction live in a desperate and so far futile attempt to move the world to something.” While Israel rejected the allegations, Colombia supported them: “South Africa’s request is a bold step in the right direction,” the State Department said in a statement. This Friday, the court will decide whether to impose precautionary measures, which could include halting the Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

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