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Gaza: Lula compares Israel to the Nazis, “shameful” according to Netanyahu

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has accused Sunday Israel committed "génocide" Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, comparing the Israeli offensive to the Israeli offensive the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reacted strongly by denouncing “shameful and serious” remarks and by summoning the Brazilian ambassador to Israel on Monday, while his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant accused Brazil of “support” Hamas.

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip is not a war, it is a genocide,” Lula told the press from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he is attending an African Union summit. “This is not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It is a war between a highly prepared army and women and children.”

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people has not happened at any other time in history. In fact, it has happened before: when Hitler decided to kill the Jews,” he said. the Brazilian leader, veteran of the left.

These statements are among the most virulent ever made on the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas by Lula, eminent voice from the South whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the G20.

“The remarks of the Brazilian president are shameful and serious” and “I have decided with the minister of Foreign Affairs Israel Katz to immediately summon the Brazilian ambassador to Israel to strongly lecture him,” responded Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the afternoon. Mr. Katz clarified on X that the Brazilian ambassador would be summoned on Monday.

Gaza: Lula compares Israel to the Nazis, “shameful” according to Netanyahu

Smoke rises above Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, during an Israeli bombardment, February 18, 2024 © AFP – SAID KHATIB

“Comparing Israel to the Nazi Holocaust and Hitler is crossing the red line,” Mr. Netanyahu added in a statement.

“By comparing Israel's war in Gaza against Hamas, a genocidal terrorist organization, to the Holocaust, President da Silva has dishonored the memory of the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis and demonized the Jewish state as the most virulent anti-Semites. He should be ashamed,” Mr. Netanyahu added in the evening, in a speech delivered in Jerusalem to the Conference of Presidents of the Main American Jewish Organizations.

Hamas “welcomed” in a press release Lula's statements, which according to it are “an exact description of what (its) people are suffering” in Gaza and reveal “the enormity of the crime” committed by Israel “with the open support from the Biden administration”.

– Contribution to Unrwa –

The 78-year-old Brazilian president condemned Hamas' October 7 attack on Israel as a “terrorist” act. But he has since been very critical of Israel's military campaign of retaliation.

Hamas' unprecedented attack on Israeli soil led to the death of 1,160 people, most of them civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli figures.

The attackers also took hostages around 250 people, 130 of whom are still in Gaza, including 30 presumed dead, according to Israeli figures.

The bombings and ground offensive since then carried out by Israel in Gaza killed at least 28,985 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.

Gaza: Lula compares Israel to the Nazis, “shameful” according to Netanyahu

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (center) attends an African Union summit on February 17, 2024 in Addis Ababa © AFP – Michele Spatari

The Brazilian president also criticized recent decisions by major Western donors to suspend their funding of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), in which Israel has accused 12 employees of being involved in the Hamas attack.

Brazil will increase its own contribution to the agency, said Lula, who met with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh on Saturday on the sidelines of the summit, urging other countries to do the same.

“When I see rich countries announcing that they are stopping contributing to humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, I imagine the extent of the political consciousness of these people and the spirit of solidarity that animates them,” he quipped. “We need to stop being small when we need to be big.”

He reiterated his call for a settlement of the conflict based on the coexistence of two States, with Palestine “definitively recognized as a sovereign State in its own right”.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116