Colombian President Announces it is Suspending Military Material from Israel in Response to its Actions against Gaza

March 3, 2024

Israeli made planes during the Independence Day parade in Bogota. Juancho Torres / Anadolu Agency

The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, announced on Thursday the suspension of the purchase of war material from Israel in response to the attack that occurred that same day during the distribution of food in the Gaza Strip, which left more than 100 Palestinians dead.

Both countries have been arms partners for more than three decades. In the 90s, Colombia bought 24 Kfir fighter jets from Israel, which are already about to reach their useful life, so the Government is looking for a way to replace them, although it still needs spare parts and services from the air industry of Israel for the maintenance of the old aircraft.

“This is called genocide and reminds us of the Holocaust. Colombia will be suspending all purchases of weapons from Israel”. Petro said.

The Armed Forces of the South American country have other weapons of Israeli manufacture, such as the Jericho semi-automatic pistols, the X95 rifles, the Nimrod and Spike anti-tank missiles, the Hermes unmanned aircraft, the M-462 artillery vehicles, the Eagle Eye anti-aircraft batteries, as well as the Galil rifles and the Negev machine guns, although it is manufactured under license by the Colombian Military Industry (Indumil), which, in addition, produces its own Galil line, called Córdova. Last year, 18 Atmos self-propelled howitzers were added to this list, which, as stipulated in the contract, must be delivered within eight years.

According to military experts, the biggest inconveniences related to the suspension of arms purchases from Tel Aviv will manifest themselves in relation to the Kfir and the Galil, since they are key equipment for the Colombian forces.

Speaking to Semana, General Guillermo León, former commander of the country’s Air Force, pointed out that, “if the maintenance contract with Israel is broken, the Kfir aircraft fleet would not be able to stay in flight, because there will be no flow of spare parts” and would remain on the ground.” In the meantime, they admit that they don’t know anything about the replacement equipment.

Colombia’s announcement to suspend arms contracts with Israel will have a diplomatic, political and media effect

Regarding the Galil rifles, retired General Eduardo Zapateiro, former commander of the Army, told that media that it is the “individual team of all soldiers in Colombia.” “This rifle, which Indumil and the Police also give to the other forces, has a very important element that is the soul of the weapon […], which is the cannon and the cannon is produced by Israel,” he said. In this sense, he warns that the country “would be left” without the Galil, because they will not be “able to move forward.”

In search of the replacement

This Friday, Petro assured that he will look for a replacement to acquire weapons. “There is no new contract for the purchase of weapons” signed with Israel, the president said, clarifying that “there are contracts for the maintenance of them.”

“We will be looking for the replacement of what has already been acquired to free Colombia from a military relationship that does not suit the country or Latin America,” he concluded.

Source: RT, translation Alice Loaiza

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