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Brazil postpones Israel arms deal due to Gaza genocide

May 13, 2024 at 2:15 pm

Brazil´s Defence Minister José Múcio Monteiro [Governo do Estado de São Paulo/Flickr]

Brazil´s Defence Minister José Múcio Monteiro has postponed the signing of a contract with the Israeli company Elbit Systems for 36 armoured vehicles with 155 mm howitzers, a type of cannon with great range and precision. According to Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo, the deal involved the import of the self-propelled vehicles for up to 750 million Brazilian reals, equivalent to $145m.

The newspaper mentioned that the postponement of the deal comes one day after human rights organisations and political figures put pressure on the Lula government to end the arms trade with the Israeli government which has been committing genocidal crimes against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip since last October.

Múcio clarified that the request for the deal to be postponed is an attempt to gain time for political discussions with the aim of placating any resistance from President Lula da Silva’s Workers’ Party (PT) and his allies.

Elbit Systems refused to comment on the postponement of the signing of the contract.

Jewish Voices for Liberation along with Amnesty International sent a letter to President Lula to request the Brazilian government to impose an embargo on arms deals with Israel. Many well-known figures in Brazil, including singer Chico Buarque, former ministers José Dirceu and Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, and the former Minister of Human Rights Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro, as well as PT supporters backed the JVL and Amnesty initiative and asked Lula to suspend all arms deals with the occupation state.

“Seven months after the start of Israel’s most recent military offensive in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian enclave has been transformed into a wasteland by the Israel Defence Forces,” the signatories pointed out in their letter to Lula. “There is an urgent need for effective action by the Brazilian government to stop the ongoing offensive and mobilise the international system to take collective measures within international humanitarian and other international laws.”

The signatories expressed their belief that the Brazilian government must take concrete and immediate measures to prevent the perpetuation of violations of the mandatory norms of international law by Israel.

“Brazil should distance itself from any cooperation with Israel as it maintains several political, commercial, cultural and military cooperation agreements with the state,” they added. “We call on the Brazilian government to suspend all defence agreements with Israel immediately and stop all imports of arms and exports of military equipment that could be used to commit violations against civilians, including war crimes in the Gaza Strip.”

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