New members of Colombia’s Congress stood in solidarity with Palestinians Sunday, using their inauguration as an opportunity to draw attention to the plight of Palestinian citizens caught in the midst of ongoing military hostilities, Colombian media reported on Sunday.
Representatives of the leftist Democratic Pole (Polo Democratico) party showed their support by holding up signs that showed the Colombian and Palestinian flags together.
The signs displayed slogans including, “End the massacre in Gaza,” and, “No to the occupation of Palestine,” according to Colombia’s Terra TV.
The members of Congress were referring to the deepening Israeli military ground, aerial, and naval offensive in the Gaza Strip that has resulted in the deaths of close to 600 Palestinians, the injury of another 3,000, thousands of internally displaced people, and the death of 18 Israeli troops and two civilians, according to Terra.
Though thousands of rockets have been fired into Israel since the flare up began two weeks ago, the overwhelming majority of the casualties have been Palestinian.
Prominent figures such as Ivan Cepeda, Jorge Robledo, and Angelica Lozano were among the Colombian congressmen to show support for Palestinian victims, who live amid what is generally considered a human rights crisis.
According to Al Jazeera news, Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor working at Gaza’s main hospital said, “It’s very disturbing to see the large number of civilians, particularly the children.”
“What [Palestinians] are [saying] is that how can the world accept the Israelis targeting civilians in an area which is completely shut off? There are no shelters, no early warning systems, no sirens. The population is basically completely naked to the enormously strong Israeli military machine,” he said.
The United Nations is currently urging an immediate ceasefire between the Israeli government and the democratically elected Palestinian Hamas leadership, widely characterized as a terrorist organization.
Colombians are familiar with the toils armed conflict can exact on a civilian population. In Colombia, at least 5.7 million people have been displaced by armed guerrilla insurgents, paramilitaries, and state soldiers in the country’s 50-year conflict, with hundreds of thousands more killed in the violence.