Brazil's President Condemns Israel's Actions in Gaza: A Call for Humanity and Diplomacy

By Abdelrahman Ahmed February 20, 2024 85

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva described the Israeli war on Gaza as genocide, while Spanish Minister of Social Rights, acting, Ione Belarra, called on European countries to sever diplomatic relations with Israel. Amnesty International stated that Israeli military threats ordering residents of northern Gaza to evacuate forcibly could amount to war crimes.

In televised statements, Da Silva said on Wednesday that the issue is not about debating who was right or wrong, or who initiated the violence, but rather, "This is not a war, this is genocide, resulting in the deaths of nearly two thousand children who have no connection to what's happening; they are victims in this conflict."

The Brazilian President, who chairs his country's Security Council, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has accused Israel of perpetrating "genocide" against Palestinians in Gaza and likened the conflict to Adolf Hitler's campaign against Jews. Lula made these remarks during an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, stating that the situation in Gaza constitutes genocide, not a conventional war. Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz expressed intent to reprimand Brazil's ambassador over Lula's comments, emphasizing Israel's right to self-defense. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned Lula's statements, calling them disrespectful and arguing that likening Israel to Nazis crosses a red line. Lula initially condemned Hamas-led attacks on Israel but has since criticized Israel's retaliation in Gaza. He also denounced Western countries' suspension of aid to UNRWA and advocated for increased support for Palestinian refugees. Lula reiterated his support for a two-state solution, with Palestine recognized as a sovereign state.

Da Silva criticized the weak role of the United Nations and reiterated the necessity of "establishing a humanitarian corridor to ensure the supply of electricity to hospitals and the entry of international humanitarian aid" that began to arrive in Gaza in very limited quantities on Saturday.

Call for Sanctions:

In a heightened tone, the Spanish Minister of Social Rights, acting, Ione Belarra, called on European countries to sever diplomatic relations with Israel and impose a ban on arms and economic sanctions.

Belarra stated in a post on the platform "X" on Tuesday, "Let's act, it's still possible to stop the genocide," referring to the airstrikes carried out by Israeli fighter jets on the Gaza Strip, which resulted in thousands of civilian casualties, mostly women, children, and the elderly.

The Minister also called on European countries to take action against Israel and demanded the adoption of four urgent decisions: cutting diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv, imposing severe economic sanctions, banning weapons, and referring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and all other political leaders who bombed civilians to the International Criminal Court.

War Crimes:

While the Israeli army continues its aggression on the Gaza Strip for the twentieth day, Amnesty International stated that Israeli military threats ordering residents of northern Gaza to evacuate forcibly could amount to war crimes.

The organization, in a statement on Wednesday evening, pointed out that the Israeli army dropped leaflets on northern Gaza on October 21, ordering residents to evacuate the area immediately, claiming that their lives were in danger. The army threatened that anyone who chose not to evacuate their homes from northern Gaza to the south of the Wadi Gaza area might be identified as a "partner with a terrorist organization."

Donatella Rovera, Senior Crisis Response Adviser at Amnesty International, stated that declaring an entire city or area a military target contradicts international humanitarian law, which stipulates that those carrying out attacks must distinguish between civilians or civilian objects and military objectives.

She emphasized that violating the principle of distinction by targeting civilians or civilian objects, or by carrying out indiscriminate attacks resulting in the killing or injuring of civilians, constitutes a war crime.

The human rights official added that these leaflets serve as additional evidence that Israel aims to forcibly displace civilians in northern Gaza. She continued that these threats could also rise to the level of war crimes, involving collective punishment, as Israel holds hundreds of thousands of civilians responsible for acts they did not commit. 

Already, due to Israeli shelling and threats, around 1.4 million Palestinians out of Gaza's 2.3 million inhabitants, who are already suffering greatly from deteriorating living conditions due to Israel's ongoing blockade since 2006, have been displaced.

Amnesty International renewed its call for the immediate cancellation of forced evacuation orders and the removal of all conditions imposed on the urgent distribution of humanitarian aid, as well as allowing the entry of aid, including fuel, into Gaza in sufficient quantities to meet the urgent needs of civilian populations.

Since the start of the war, Israel has cut off Gaza's supplies of water, food, medicine, and electricity, amidst warnings of a humanitarian catastrophe and the collapse of the healthcare system in the besieged enclave. The number of casualties due to the Israeli aggression on Gaza has exceeded 7,000, most of whom are women, children, and the elderly.