The Colombian president in turn accuses Israel of genocide

The Colombian president, in turn, accuses Israel of “genocide”.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro on Tuesday accused Israel of committing a “genocide” against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and expressed “total solidarity” with his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva, who was plunged into a diplomatic crisis.

• Also read: Lula “persona non grata” in Israel after his comments on the war in Gaza

• Also read: Palestinians accuse Israel of “apartheid” at the International Court of Justice.

“There is a genocide in Gaza. Thousands of children, women and old people are cowardly murdered. Lula only told the truth. Either the truth will be defended, or barbarism will destroy us,” Mr. Petro declared on X. “I express my full solidarity with the President of Brazil,” the Colombian leader stressed.

On Sunday, President Lula caused a stir when he accused Israel of “genocide” against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and drew a comparison between the Israeli offensive and the Nazi extermination of Jews.

Following these comments, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz said that Lula was now persona non grata in Israel “until he apologizes and retracts his statements.”

Brazil and Colombia are supporting South Africa's historic case against Israel at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague over alleged violations of the 1948 Genocide Convention.

The war in Gaza was sparked by an unprecedented attack on October 7 by Hamas commandos infiltrated in southern Israel. More than 1,160 people were killed, most of them civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli data.

In retaliation, Israel vowed to wipe out the Palestinian Islamist movement and launched an offensive that left 29,195 dead in Gaza, the vast majority of them civilians, according to the Hamas health ministry.

Israel says 130 hostages are still being held in Gaza, 30 of whom are believed to have died of the approximately 250 people kidnapped on October 7.

President Gustavo Petro, who agreed in January to mediate Israel's request to release the hostages, called on Latin American countries to “unite to immediately end the violence in Palestine.”

At the end of 2022, the Colombian president also drew a parallel between the Israeli army and the Nazis, triggering a diplomatic crisis that led to a meeting with the Israeli ambassador in Bogotá.