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Israel declares Brazil’s president persona non grata

West Jerusalem is outraged at Lula da Silva’s Holocaust comments, while Brasilia has called the reaction “absurd”

The Israeli foreign minister has lashed out at the Brazilian president over the latter’s remarks on the war in Gaza and the Holocaust.

According to Reuters, Israel Katz said that Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was unwelcome in Israel after the Brazilian leader likened Israel’s actions in Gaza to the genocide of Jews by the Nazis during World War II.

”We will not forget nor forgive. It is a serious antisemitic attack. In my name and the name of the citizens of Israel – tell President Lula that he is persona non grata in Israel until he takes it back,” the agency quoted Katz as telling Brazil’s ambassador.

The ambassador was summoned for a reprimand on Monday over the remarks, Katz said in a separate post on X (formerly Twitter).

Declaring the president persona non grata is “absurd,” news outlet G1 quoted Lula da Silva’s chief advisor, Celso Amorim, as saying.

Over the weekend, Lula da Silva described Israel’s military action against Hamas militants in Gaza as “genocide” and “slaughter.” He compared it to the extermination of millions of Jews by Adolf Hitler’s Nazi regime 80 years ago, according to G1. The Brazilian leader made the comments after being asked about the recent suspension of aid by some donors, including the US, Germany and the EU, to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip and with the Palestinian people did not exist at any other historical moment. In fact, it did exist: when Hitler decided to kill the Jews,” he said, as quoted by G1.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the Brazilian president’s words as “shameful and serious” in a post on Telegram, and said the comments were “crossing a red line.”

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Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu at the UN General Assembly, New York City, September 22, 2023.
Israel rejects two-state solution – Netanyahu

The Israeli government began an air and ground offensive in Gaza in October following an attack by Hamas on Israel. More than 29,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in Gaza since, according to Palestinian health authorities.

On Sunday, Netanyahu categorically rejected “unilateral recognition” of a Palestinian state, arguing it would be a “massive and unprecedented reward to terrorism.” He also called the war in Gaza “the battle of civilization against barbarism,” and reiterated his goal of “total victory.”

The international community has long been calling for a so-called two-state solution, or the establishment of a separate state for Palestinians alongside Israel.

February 19, 2024 at 07:45PM
RT

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