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Brazil: ‘What war crimes has Israel not committed in Gaza yet?’ asks lawmaker

January 17, 2024 at 1:06 pm

The Brazilian Deputy Padre Joao delivers a speech at the Brazilian congress in January 2024 [Lucas David]

Brazilian Deputy Padre João and a number of his fellow lawmakers have asked Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira to work towards stopping Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians in Gaza and cancelling all agreements with the occupation state, especially military agreements.

Vieira has received a letter signed by 60 parliamentarians calling on Brazilin President Lula Da Silva to “adopt” more stringent steps to confront the genocide promoted by Israel against the Palestinian people and move forcefully to end Israel’s occupation and apartheid.

Furthermore, the Brazilian deputies have asked the government to “cancel military cooperation agreements with Israel in fields such as technologies, defence, public security, civil aviation, cybersecurity and health.”

READ: Israel: mayor calls for Gaza neighbourhoods to be ‘wiped out’

The foreign minister confirmed that the Brazilian government “will not implement any policy of military cooperation with Israel at this time” and will not proceed with any agreements signed by former President Jair Bolsonaro. “Our expectation is that this will become a political position and be formalised,” added Vieira.

[Lucas David]

Padre João told me that deputies from different parties, more than 15 ambassadors and representatives of countries, authorities and defenders of the Palestinians have signed a petition and delivered it to Minister Vieira.

“As parliamentarians, we put pressure on all parties of the world, especially Brazil, to stop what Israel is doing against Palestine,” he explained. “Gaza is the largest open-air concentration camp in history. I’m shocked. What war crimes has Israel not yet committed in Gaza? We are outraged daily by these massacres that Israel is carrying out against Palestinians.”

READ: Israel shelling injures Jordan field hospital staff in Gaza

Regarding the military agreements between Brazil and Israel, João said that the minister of foreign affairs has to check to see if they have been enacted yet. “If so, it is difficult for the government to interfere. If not, he said he will take this issue directly to President Lula.”

The Brazilian Congress, he pointed out, does not have the power to interfere in the decisions of other countries. “What we can do, though, is put pressure on the Brazilian government to take action so that the massacres committed by Israel that we are witnessing on our screens in real time can be brought to an end.”

Padre João is confident that increased awareness about Palestine in Brazilian society is making a difference.

The Federal University of Ceará (UFC), for example, decided recently to cancel the “Innovation Challenge Brazil – Israel” in response to the ongoing Israeli military assault, which has killed more than 24,000 Palestinians in Gaza, most of them women and children.

“We report all of these crimes to the Brazilian government and continue to seek all alternatives to help the Palestinians,” said João. “Since 2015, when I was president of the Human Rights Commission in the Chamber of Deputies, I have denounced all atrocities committed by Israel.”

While highlighting Brazil’s efforts to ensure an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, he reminded the world that the US vetoed Brazil’s proposal at the UN Security Council. “This could have prevented thousands of deaths.” Nevertheless, he asked the Brazilian government to “continue seeking for alternatives to end the killing of innocent people in Gaza.”

The lawmaker also called earlier on Brazil to support South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice, asking President Lula to work alongside South Africa in this matter. “Brazil, as an unreserved signatory to the Convention on Combatants and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide, had to support the Republic of South Africa in this regard.”

READ: Brazil backs South Africa’s ICJ genocide case against Israel

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