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Brazil strengthens ties with Israel, signs new agreements

June 13, 2023 at 10:57 am

A Brazilian delegation meets Israeli officials in Tel Aviv during the Porto & Mar Brazil-Israel 2023 International Mission [Brazilian Government]

Brazil and Israel signed a letter of intent for the exchange of technologies and innovations at national ports and airports.

This came on the first day of the International Mission Porto & Mar Brazil-Israel 2023, led by the Brazilian Minister of Ports and Airports Marcio Franca. The Brazilian delegation met with Israeli officials and businessmen in Tel Aviv this month.

“Israel is a small country in terms of territory, but it has advanced technology. In our sector, we really want this technology for security purposes. We are having many problems with drugs, people who try to put drugs on ships and also at airports. We can provide them with what we know best, which is the issue of physical space, and at the same time sample what they have,” Franca explained.

“Ashdod terminal, located about 40 kilometres from Tel Aviv, is considered the most modern port complex in Israel,” he added

The Director General of the National Waterway Transport Agency (Antaq), Eduardo Nery, and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Port of Ashdod, Shaul Schneider, both took part in the event.

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One of the main objectives of the agreement is to “learn about the technological innovations developed by 12 Israeli startups for the port and logistics chain. Strengthening project collaboration opportunities and jointly developing business are also part of the agreement.” Under the deal, the city of Santos in the Brazilian state of Sao Paulo will have an “Israeli Innovation Embassy”.

It comes in spite of Brazilian President Lula da Silva’s support for the Palestinian cause. Brazil has had a good relationship with Israel, voting in favour of UN Resolution 181 the 1947 Partition Plan which made way for the creation of the state of Israel. Brazil was among the first countries to recognise the nascent state and it maintained a balanced relationship with it.

At the same time, Brazil sought to maintain a position of respect for human rights, international law and UN resolutions, thus remaining an interlocutor for both sides, while not renouncing any of its principled positions.

Brazil opened talks with Israel to acquire and exchange scientific and defence technologies under previous Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Many agreements have since been signed, including for missiles, radar and high-tech surveillance cameras. These can modernise Brazil’s military and law enforcement agencies. Globally, Brazil is one of the largest purchasers of Israeli war technologies, with arms acquisitions made through private companies in closed agreements.

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“When I was Minister of Defence, I always advised our people in the armed forces that they should be careful,” said former Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations Celso Amorim told MEMO in a interview months ago. “I’m not against Israel per se, but the problem is that we may face restrictions on account of our positions in relation to Palestine.” As far as Amorim is concerned, there is an excessive dependence of the Brazilian government on Israeli military technology, mainly in avionics used in aircraft, satellites and drones, for example.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.