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Colombia suspends all arms purchases from Israel after Gaza aid convoy carnage

Palestinians mourn near a body at Kamal Edwan Hospital in Beit Lahia, in the northern Gaza Strip, on February 29, 2024, after Israeli soldiers opened fire at Gaza residents who rushed towards trucks loaded with humanitarian aid. (Photo by AFP)

Colombian President Gustavo Petro has denounced Israel over “genocide” in Gaza, and announced that Bogota will suspend all arms purchases from the Tel Aviv regime after more than 100 people were killed while waiting to receive emergency food assistance in northern Gaza.

"Asking for food, 100 Palestinians were murdered by [Israeli prime minister Benjamin] Netanyahu. This is called genocide and it reminds of the Holocaust; even though world powers have a hard time recognizing it,” Petro wrote in a post published on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday.

"The world must block Netanyahu," he said, adding, "Colombia is suspending all arms purchases from Israel."

Colombia is among the 130 nations that have acquired weaponry, drones, and cyber espionage technology from Israel, which ranks as the world's tenth-largest arms exporter.

The South American country’s military and police have for decades used Israeli-manufactured rifles, pistols and missiles.

Its air force operates some 20 Kfir multirole combat aircraft, and the country produces Galil automatic rifles and Spike missiles under Israeli patent.

Colombia was among the first countries to condemn Israel’s military onslaught against Gaza. Petro has been a critic of the regime’s ground and aerial offensives against Palestinians in the coastal territory.

In October, just days after the start of the Gaza war, Israel said it was “halting security exports” to Colombia after Petro lambasted Israeli minister for military affairs Yoav Gallant for using language about the people of Gaza similar to what the Nazis did.

Colombia’s president has also emphasized that “democratic peoples cannot allow Nazism to reestablish itself in international politics.”

The Israeli military has killed at least 112 Palestinians and injured 760 more in an attack on a crowd waiting for food in Gaza City.

Hundreds of starving Palestinians had gathered to collect food aid when the Israeli military opened fire on them, in an attack that has been described as a massacre of civilians.

Israel waged its brutal war on Gaza on October 7 after the Palestinian Hamas resistance group carried out Operation Al-Aqsa Storm against the usurping entity in retaliation for its intensified atrocities against the Palestinian people.

At least 30,035 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, and 70,457 others injured amid mass destruction and shortages of necessities.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the coastal enclave, leaving its population, particularly residents in the north on the verge of starvation.

The Israeli war has pushed 85 per cent of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60 per cent of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the United Nations.

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