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Colombia to Impose Coal Export Sanctions on Israel Amid Gaza Conflict

Colombia’s Move to Curb Coal Exports to Israel

In a bold move to protest Israel’s military actions in Gaza, Colombia is set to limit its coal exports to the Middle Eastern nation. The decision, reported by Bloomberg, highlights a significant shift in Colombia’s diplomatic and trade relations with Israel.

Colombia: Israel’s Largest Coal Supplier

Colombia holds the position of Israel’s primary coal supplier, with exports valued at approximately $450 million last year. In 2023, Colombian coal made up over 60% of Israel’s total coal imports, with major contributions from global mining giants Glencore and Drummond. These figures, provided by energy analytics firm Kpler, underscore the critical role Colombian coal plays in Israel’s energy sector.

Government’s Strategic Sanctions

The Colombian trade ministry has recommended that a key committee responsible for tariffs and foreign trade take action to limit coal shipments to Israel. The internal document and sources close to the matter indicate that these sanctions aim to contribute to ending the ongoing armed conflict in Gaza. The export restrictions are expected to remain in place until hostilities cease, with a decision possibly being finalized within the week.

Economic Impact and Diplomatic Tensions

Despite the significant role of coal exports to Israel, they constitute only 1% of Colombia’s total export value. However, for Israel, Colombian coal is crucial, powering 22% of its electricity grid. This move comes in the wake of deteriorating relations between Colombia and Israel, a stark contrast to their historically strong partnership.

Breakdown of Diplomatic Ties

The diplomatic rift began in May when Colombia severed ties with Israel, despite numerous bilateral agreements and military contracts. Colombian President Gustavo Petro condemned Israel’s operations in Gaza, labeling them as “genocide.” This accusation prompted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to respond, accusing Petro of being an “anti-Semitic supporter of Hamas.”

The Conflict’s Background

The current conflict traces back to October 7 of last year, when Hamas launched a series of attacks on Israel, referred to as ‘Al-Aqsa Flood.’ These attacks resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 Israelis and the capture of 250 others. Israel’s subsequent military response has led to significant casualties and widespread destruction in Gaza, with over 36,000 Gazans reported dead according to local health authorities.

Historical Context of Colombia-Israel Relations

Historically, Colombia has been one of Israel’s closest allies in Latin America. The nations have shared strong diplomatic ties, bolstered by various agreements and military collaborations. The recent shift in Colombia’s stance marks a significant departure from this history, reflecting the escalating tensions surrounding the Gaza conflict.

Conclusion: A Shift in Global Energy Dynamics

Colombia’s decision to impose coal export sanctions on Israel is a noteworthy development in international relations and global energy trade. As the situation in Gaza continues to evolve, the implications of this move will likely have far-reaching effects on both countries’ economies and their diplomatic relations with other nations. This strategic action by Colombia underscores the complex interplay between politics, energy, and international diplomacy in the modern world.

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