Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Israel and Palestine Intersect in Bogotá

'Colombia supports dialogue.' The guy's subtext: Don't recognize a Palestinian state.
This morning, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas asked Colombian Pres. Juan Manuel Santos to back the creation of an independent Palestinian state, supporters of both Israel and Palestine held neighboring - and at points even mixing - demonstrations on Plaza Bolívar.

'No to terrorist Israel.'
After the meeting, Pres. Santos promised to use Colombia's "good offices" to promote peace in the Middle East. As a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, Colombia is in a strategic position on this, and lots of other issues. However, Colombia has historically close ties to Israel, altho not always healthy ones, making it unlikely to endorse the Palestinian cause.

The supporters of Israel and Palestine today waved their respective flags and chanted. But I saw one banner calling Israel a 'terrorist state' - not a good way to start out negotiations.

On the positive side, the twin demonstrations coexisted peacefully. Hopefully, one day soon the Israeli and Palestinian states can do the same.

A Palestinian flag. 
Waving Israel flags. 
Supporters of Israel and Palestine might be appealing for the support of Simon Bolívar, whose statue stands in the plaza's center. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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