Brazil’s Lula accuses Israel of ‘genocide’ in Gaza

Brazil’s Lula accuses Israel of ‘genocide’ in Gaza
Brazil’s Lula accuses Israel of ‘genocide’ in Gaza

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - A Palestinian stands next to a huge crater in Rafah on February 18, 2024, following Israeli air strikes on the southern Gaza Strip border city amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement. — AFP pic

ADDIS ABABA, Feb 18 — Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva accused Israel today of committing “genocide” against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip and compared its actions to Adolf Hitler’s campaign to exterminate Jews.

“What’s happening in the Gaza Strip isn’t a war, it’s a genocide,” Lula told reporters in Addis Ababa where he was attending an African Union summit.

“It’s not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It’s a war between a highly prepared army and women and children,” added the veteran leftist.

“What’s happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people hasn’t happened at any other moment in history. Actually, it has happened: when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

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They were among the strongest comments yet on the conflict from Lula, a prominent voice for the global south whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the G20.

The 78-year-old leader condemned Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel as a “terrorist” act the day it happened.

But he has since grown vocally critical of Israel’s retaliatory military campaign.

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Hamas’s attack resulted in the deaths of about 1,160 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli official figures.

Militants also took about 250 people hostage, 130 of whom are still in Gaza, including 30 who are presumed dead, according to Israeli figures.

Israel’s retaliatory assault on Gaza has killed at least 28,858 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run territory’s health ministry.

Lula criticized Western countries’ recent decisions to halt aid to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, after Israel accused some of its employees of involvement in the October 7 attack.

Lula, who met with Palestinian prime minister Mohammad Shtayyeh yesterday on the sidelines of the summit, has said Brazil will increase its own contribution to the agency, and urged other countries to do the same.

“When I see the rich world announce that it’s halting its contributions to humanitarian aid for the Palestinians, I just imagine how big these people’s political awareness is and how big the spirit of solidarity in their hearts is,” Lula said.

“We need to stop being small when we need to be big.”

He reiterated his call for a two-state solution to the conflict, with Palestine “definitively recognized as a full and sovereign state.” — AFP

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