Without relations with Israel “Colombia will suffer a lot due to weapons”: Kfir planes, Spike missiles and rifles for soldiers, we will see.

Luc Williams

Retired General Eduardo Zapateiro, former commander of the National Army; General Guillermo León, former commander of the Colombian Air Force, and General Jorge Luis Vargas, former director of the National Police, spoke with him on March 1, when President Gustavo Petro announced the suspension of the purchase of weapons from that country. The Colombian president radicalized his speech and on May 1, 2024, he announced the breaking of relations with the Asian country.

“Begging for food, more than 100 Palestinians were killed by (Israel Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu. This is called genocide and is reminiscent of the Holocaust, even if the world powers do not like to recognize it,” Petro wrote on the social network X. Therefore, “Colombia suspends all purchases of weapons from Israel”added the Colombian president at that time, openly in favor of the Palestinian cause.

Retired General Eduardo Zapateiro, former Army commander, said that “it is very unfortunate, with strategic impact, it is a risk to national security, that is how crude it is. We have 383 men outside the Colombian border, along the Sinai Peninsula. A mission is mistreated,” he explained. “The Colombia Battalion is the peace mission that Colombia has outside its borders. It means Israel, which supports all the logistics. “I don't know what he will do with the situation presented with the Government of Colombia,” he added.

According to Zapateiro, “one of the most important transfers is the Galil rifle, the individual equipment of all Colombian soldiers. This rifle, which Indumil and the Police also give to the other forces, has a very important element that It is the soul of the weapon. The soul of that rifle is the barrel and the barrel is produced by Israel. In that order of ideas, Colombia would be left without rifles for our soldiers because we will not be able to carry out that cannon, but rather Israel is the one who provides it.”

Currently, Colombian soldiers and police have been using, for decades, Israeli-made rifles, pistols and missiles to fight against the guerrillas who have challenged the State for more than 60 years. The Air Force, for example, has around twenty Kfir aircraft. According to information given by the Ministry of Defense, among the inventory there are also drones and equipment that makes the operation of helicopters possible. Besides, Colombia has the rights to manufacture Galil rifles and Israeli-patented Spike missiles.

General Guillermo León, former commander of the Colombian Air Force and president of Acore (Association of Retired Officers of the Colombian Military Forces), said that the decision “would have a negative impact on the Air Force.” And he explained: “The situation of the Kfir planes (Israel Aircraft Industries Kfir, known simply as Kfir). We have a fleet that is close to leaving due to the completion of its useful life cycle period. With this decision what would be is accelerating the departure of this team. First of all, the Air Force has already announced that three aircraft were taken out of service because they reached their maximum ceiling. The other planes would be left in a condition of not having a way to stay in flight because there will be no flow of spare parts. The maintenance contract would not continue if it were to be broken and, of course, the fleet would be grounded.. And we still have no decision on replacement equipment and a new fleet would not be new.”

Petro assures that Israel is committing genocide in the Gaza Strip and has had several disagreements with that country's ambassador in Bogotá, Gali Dagan.

Finally, General Jorge Luis Vargas, former director of the National Police, assured that the announcements from President Gustavo Petro from X are irresponsible. “Several concerns, he is a legal, constitutional outburst. In terms of weapons, Colombia is going to suffer a lot. “This is not a movie,” he asserted.

The officer also noted: “It is very dangerous for the stability of Colombia” for Petro to make these types of announcements to open the doors to Chinese and Russian military technology. “Look at Venezuela, look at Nicaragua. “This decision is very dangerous, very terrifying in terms of guaranteeing freedoms and democracy in Colombia.” Furthermore, he pointed out, President Petro usually makes these types of announcements when he has scandals “to divert attention.”

More than 30,000 people, most of them women and children, have been killed by Israeli military operations in Gaza since October 7, according to Hamas. That day, members of the Islamist group crossed the border and killed about 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to calculations based on official Israeli data.


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