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Israeli president apologises to Brazil over insulting remarks

August 13, 2014 at 9:20 am

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin apologised on Tuesday to Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff for an insulting remark made by a foreign ministry official, Anadolu news agency reported.

The apology came after the spokesperson for the Israeli foreign ministry, Yigal Palmor, described Brazil as a “diplomatic dwarf” during remarks to the Jerusalem Post newspaper on 24 July.

According to the agency, the Brazilian government released a statement on Tuesday saying that the Israeli president had apologised to Rousseff during a telephone call and assured her that the official’s remarks do not reflect the opinion of the Israeli people.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian president told her Israeli counterpart, “We condemn the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel but we condemn the use of excessive force in Gaza.” However, she also reportedly acknowledged Israel’s right to self-defence.

Brazil was one of the first countries to recognise Israel and the two countries continue to share strong economic and military cooperation.

During the telephone call, Rousseff stressed the importance of mutual ties between the two countries and expressed her hope for the two-state solution to come true.

Palmor made his insulting remarks after Brazil voiced scathing criticism of the Israeli military campaign in the Gaza Strip.

Brazil even recalled its ambassador to Israel last month, expressing disappointment over the use of disproportionate force in its ongoing military operation against the Gaza Strip, which Israel has dubbed “Operation Protective Edge”.