Colombia plans to provide medical treatment to Palestinian children injured in Israel-Hamas war

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A Colombian military hospital would provide medical treatment to Palestinian children injured in the Israel-Hamas war under a plan announced Thursday by the country’s Foreign Ministry.

Colombia's Deputy Minister of Multilateral Affairs Elizabeth Taylor Jay told reporters the children would travel with their families to Colombia for rehabilitation. She did not provide further details, including the number of children who would receive treatment, when they would arrive in Colombia or how long they would remain in the country.

Neither the foreign ministry nor the office of President Gustavo Petro immediately responded to a request for additional information from The Associated Press. Taylor Jay made the announcement during Petro’s trip to Sweden.

The United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Germany have been receiving Palestinians in need of medical treatment as a result of the war that began after Hamas-led militants attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing 1,200 people and taking some 250 others hostage.

Israeli bombardments and ground operations in Gaza have killed more than 36,000 Palestinians, according to the Health Ministry, which does not distinguish between combatants and civilians.

Historically, Colombia had been one of Israel’s closest partners in Latin America. But relations between the two nations have cooled since Petro was elected as Colombia’s first leftist president in 2022.

Weeks after the Hamas attack on southern Israel, Petro recalled Colombia’s ambassador to Israel as he criticized the country’s military offensive. In May, he broke diplomatic ties with Israel saying that he could not maintain relations with the “genocidal” government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Taylor Jay on Thursday said the government believes injured children can be treated by Colombian military doctors in part due to “the expertise” they have acquired while caring for people wounded during Colombia’s decadeslong internal conflict.

Since the Israel-Hamas war broke, Colombia has repatriated 310 of its citizens on three humanitarian flights. Petro also granted Colombian nationality to a Palestinian woman, married to a Colombian man, who was trapped in Gaza with two of her Colombian children. The family settled in the South American country in November.


Follow AP’s coverage of Latin America and the Caribbean at