Petro’s statements have previously included strong criticisms of Israel, comparisons of the situation in Gaza with the Auschwitz concentration camp, and accusing Israel of committing genocide.
The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, denounced on Sunday the murder of Palestinian journalists by Israeli bombings in the Gaza Strip.
“108 journalists have been murdered in the Gaza Strip by bombing in their homes,” Petro stated on X, stressing the severity of the situation.
President Petro condemned the Israeli army’s assaults on journalists, urging media units, human rights organisations, and the global community to voice their opposition and exert pressure on Israel to cease its actions against the Palestinians.
The death toll among journalists rose following Sunday, after Israel killed Hamza Dahdouh, the son of Al Jazeera’s Gaza bureau chief, Wael Dahdouh, in a direct missile strike that targeted a car with journalists in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, on Sunday.
The Qatar-based network confirmed Hamza, 27, was among a group of journalists directly targeted by an Israeli missile while they were travelling inside a vehicle in Gaza.
Israel killed Hamza and Palestinian journalist Mustafa Thuraya in the attack.
The government of Gaza’s press office reported that, with these recent deaths, the number of journalists killed since the commencement of Israeli attacks has now reached 109.
Petro’s statements have previously included strong criticisms of Israel, comparisons of the situation in Gaza with the Auschwitz concentration camp, and accusations against Israel of committing genocide.
In November 2023, Colombia, alongside Chile, recalled their ambassadors to Israel in condemnation of Israel’s bombardment of Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Chile’s President Gabriel Boric cited “unacceptable violations of international humanitarian law” for the move.
Following the recall of the ambassadors and Petro’s comments, Israel announced it was halting security exports to Colombia. In response, President Petro stated his readiness to suspend diplomatic relations with Israel.
Many international legal experts have classified Israel’s actions in Gaza as potential war crimes or genocide.
South Africa has filed a petition at the ICJ, asking the court to investigate whether Israel’s actions in Gaza since its latest assault amount to genocide.
The landmark move presents a major legal battle against Israel, with the application being an 84-page document calling Israel’s actions “genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial, and ethnical group”.
The application by South Africa cites various acts of Israel, including the killing of more than 20,000 Palestinians, a majority of whom are women and children, and injuring over 55,000 Palestinians.
These actions, according to South Africa, fall under the definition of genocide as per the Genocide Convention, which includes “causing bodily harm” to a group of people.
South Africa’s application emphasises the genocidal nature of Israel’s actions, such as targeting and bombing hospitals, resulting in no functioning hospitals in the North of Gaza.
This has left injured persons with minimal medical treatment, leading to slow, agonising deaths.
The application also includes references to other acts like mass forced displacement, bombing residential areas, depriving access to adequate food and water, destroying the life of the Palestinian people in Gaza, and imposing measures intended to prevent Palestinian births.
Moreover, the bombardment of Gaza by Israel has led to the destruction or damage of 70% of all homes in the area, resulting in the mass displacement of 85% of Gaza’s 2.3 million population.
The application also notes the bombing of mosques, churches, universities, and more than 100 heritage sites targeted by Israeli forces, further highlighting the scale of the devastation and displacement caused by Israel’s military actions.