Colombia has not joined the parade of Latin American nations that have recognized the Palestinian Authority as a sovereign country over the past year.
President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon informed the World Jewish Congress on Wednesday that as a “matter of principle,” his government would not recognize any unilateral declaration of statehood by the PA.
A WJC delegation headed by Ronald Lauder thanked the Colombian president at their meeting in the capital city of Bogota.
“We value your friendship and courage for Israel and the Jewish people,” Lauder told him. “We also appreciate that you have withstood pressure from fellow Latin American leaders to prematurely recognize a Palestinian state.”
Colombia has close diplomatic ties with both Israel and the United States. Its neighbor, Venezuela, has developed increasingly warm relations with Iran and Syria.
Over the past year, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay and Uruguay have all announced decisions to recognize the Palestinian Authority as a new country. However, not all are willing to recognize the borders the PA has insisted on setting for itself.
Chile, for example, specifically avoided any mention of where it believed the borders of the PA's “country” should be. Argentina, on the other hand, referred to the PA as “Palestine,” calling it “a free and independent state within its 1967 borders,” according to a report at the time by the Associated Press.
The so-called “1967 borders” refer to the 1948 Armistice Lines. Those lines were abolished during the 1967 Six Day War that was won by Israel after being attacked by surrounding Arab nations.
The area currently occupied by the Palestinian Authority was held under the authority of the Jordanian government - and not by a Palestinian entity - before being restored to the State of Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.