Politics, World, Middle East

Colombia’s president calls on Israelis to demand end to genocide of Palestinian children

'Israel calls for the dismissal of the international prisoner,' says Gustavo Petro, referring to ICC arrest warrant for Israeli premier

Laura Gamba  | 19.06.2024 - Update : 19.06.2024
Colombia’s president calls on Israelis to demand end to genocide of Palestinian children

BOGOTA, Colombia

Colombia’s president urged Israelis to protest against their government and demand that it stop committing genocide against Palestinian children.

Following anti-government protests in Israel on Monday, Gustavo Petro launched fresh criticism against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu amid the war on Gaza.

Petro welcomed the marches in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in which thousands of Israelis called for new elections and a cease-fire in Gaza as well as a deal for the release of hostages being held by the Palestinian group Hamas. Protesters gathered outside the Knesset, Israel's parliament, before marching to Netanyahu's private home.

“The people of Israel are beginning to respond. 150,000 Israelis in demonstration demand the removal of international prisoner Netanyahu,” Petro wrote on his X account on Tuesday, referring to a request by International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Karim Khan to issue arrest warrants for the Israeli premier and his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant based on reasonable grounds to believe that they “bear criminal responsibility" for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza.

“Today it is the people of Israel who are on the front line in need of responding to the peace of the world and to life...I ask you: do what you have to do to stop the genocide of the children,” he added.

It was not the first time that Petro has protested against the prolongation of the Gaza war. In May, he broke trade relations with Israel and then suspended purchases of weapons manufactured in the counry, one of the largest suppliers to Colombian forces. A week ago, he also spoke about the suspension of Colombian coal exports to Israel.

Petro has advocated for the ICC to issue an arrest warrant against Netanyahu for his refusal to stop the bombings of Gaza despite demands by the UN Security Council.

Meanwhile, pressure is building on Netanyahu, who dissolved the War Cabinet on Monday after his rival Benny Gantz left over the lack of a strategy for the war.

Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal onslaught on Gaza since Oct. 7, 2023 attack by Hamas.

More than 37,350 Palestinians have since been killed in Gaza, most of them women and children, and over 85,400 others injured, according to local health authorities.

Over eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lie in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, whose latest ruling ordered it to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where more than 1 million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on May 6.

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