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New Columbian Gov’t To Review Recognition of ‘Palestine’; Brazilian Presidential Candidate Vows To Shut Palestinian Mission

A day after Columbia’s foreign minister announced the country’s recognition of a Palestinian state, the government backtracked and vowed to review the move. The decision was taken by former president Juan Manuel Santos just days before he was replaced by Ivan Duque, who was sworn in on Tuesday. The new leader—who has since promised to re-evaluate the initiative—reportedly was informed earlier this week of his predecessor’s behind-the-scene dealings, which were made official in an August 3 letter to the Palestinian representative in Bogota. The development came to light during United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s trip to Colombia to attend Duque’s inauguration, with Washington confirming that it is gathering more information on the matter from its close South American ally. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also was set to attend Duque’s confirmation but cancelled the visit—which would have been his second to the nation over the past year—citing ongoing tensions with Hamas. The premier has made South America the focus of a major diplomatic push, with relations with Colombia in particular having vastly improved. Notably, Colombia abstained in December from a vote in the UN General Assembly on a resolution calling for the U.S. to reverse its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Meanwhile, Ramallah may be facing another setback on the continent, as Brazil’s leading presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro—nicknamed “Brazil’s Trump”—vowed to close the Palestinian mission in Brasilia and move his country’s embassy to Jerusalem if he wins the elections slated for October.