International community should redouble pressure on Israel: Colombia minister

Last Updated on May 27, 2024 11:24 pm

The international community should insist to Israel and its allies that the country negotiate a peaceful solution to the conflict in Gaza, Colombia’s foreign minister Luis Gilberto Murillo said.

Murillo said actions in Gaza, where Israel’s military campaign has killed some 36,000 people according to local authorities, constitute genocide.

Israel has energetically rejected South Africa’s accusations before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that it is committing genocide, arguing the operations are in self defense and targeted at Hamas militants who attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

“We must really insist, not just to the government of Israel but to its most important allies, many in the global north,” Murillo told Reuters over the weekend.

“It is they who have the chance right now to convince (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu that it is important to reach a ceasefire, that it is key to permit humanitarian aid for Gaza and that it is central to sit down to negotiate a peaceful end to the conflict,” Murillo said.

Murillo did not name the Israeli allies he was referring to, but the country has received military aid from the United States for decades and is still due to get billions of dollars of US weaponry, though the Biden administration has said it remains concerned about the possible use of heavy bombs against civilians in the southern Gaza city of Rafah.

About 1,200 people were killed in the Hamas attack on Israel in October, while another 250 were taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies.


Judges at the ICJ, the top United Nations court, ordered Israel on Friday to immediately halt its military assault on Rafah, in a landmark emergency ruling.

While the court has no means to enforce its orders, the ruling was a stark sign of Israel’s global isolation over its campaign in Gaza.

Measures adopted by the United Nations have been ineffective so far, Murillo said, and the international community should redouble its pressure on Israel.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has heavily criticized Netanyahu and earlier this month broke relations with Israel, before ordering the opening of an embassy in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.

Colombia is open to reestablishing relations if there is a ceasefire and access to humanitarian aid, Murillo said.

Colombia is closely watching Venezuela’s presidential election process, he added.

The Venezuelan opposition is participating in the contest for the first time in a decade, though it was forced to replace its candidate after the winner of its primary was barred from office in a decision the opposition says is illegal.

“We have confidence the process will go well,” Murillo said.

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