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Brazil’s Lula Accuses Israel Of ‘Genocide’ In Gaza, Netanyahu Reacts

“This is a war between a highly prepared military and women and children,” he said (File)

Brazil:

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Sunday accused Israel of committing “genocide” against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, likening the act to Adolf Hitler’s campaign to exterminate Jews. .

In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the 78-year-old’s comments a “shameful and serious act” and said his government had summoned the Brazilian ambassador to protest.

But his comments drew praise from the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which said they “accurately portrayed” the situation facing people in the Gaza Strip, which it controls.

Lula told reporters in Addis Ababa, where he was attending an African Union summit, that what was happening in Gaza was “not a war, it’s a genocide.”

“This is not a war between soldiers against soldiers. It is a war between highly prepared troops and women and children,” the veteran leftist added.

“What is happening with the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip has never happened at any moment in history. In fact, it happened, when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

Lula, a prominent voice for the Global South and currently holding the rotating G20 presidency, previously condemned Hamas’ unprecedented attack on Israel on October 7 as a “terrorist” act.

However, he has since become a vocal critic of Israel’s retaliatory military operations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized Lula’s remarks, calling them “an attempt to trivialize the Holocaust and undermine the right of Jews and Israel to self-defense.”

“Comparing Israel to the Nazis and Hitler’s Holocaust crosses a line that should not be crossed,” he said in a statement.

“Israel is fighting to defend its country and secure its future until complete victory, and it is doing so while upholding international law.”

“Together with (Israel) Foreign Minister Katz, I have decided to summon and immediately denounce the Brazilian ambassador to Israel.”

Katz wrote on the X social media platform that the meeting will be held on Monday.

Contribution to UNRWA

Without naming Brazil’s president, Israeli President Isaac Herzog condemned “leaders who brutally accuse the Jewish nation of Hitler’s evil deeds.”

He added that doing so would be an “immoral distortion of history.”

Meanwhile, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Galant criticized Lula’s comments, calling them “outrageous and abhorrent.” “Brazil has stood by Israel for many years,” he wrote to X.

“President Lula supports the genocidal terrorist organization Hamas, which brings great shame to his people and violates the values ​​of the free world.”

The Oct. 7 attack killed about 1,160 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally of Israeli officials.

According to Israeli statistics, the insurgents took about 250 people hostage, 130 of whom are still in Gaza, and 30 of them are estimated to have died.

The Israeli attack on Gaza has killed at least 28,858 people, most of them women and children, according to the Hamas-run autonomous region’s health ministry.

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

Lula, who spoke with Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayeh on Saturday on the sidelines of the summit, said Brazil would increase its contribution to the agency and urged other countries to do the same.

“When I see the rich world announce that it will stop funding humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, I imagine how great the political consciousness of this people is and how great the spirit of solidarity is in their hearts. I just do it,” Lula said.

“When you have to go big, you have to stop being small.”

He reiterated his call for Palestine to be “definitively recognized as a fully sovereign state” and for a two-state solution to the conflict.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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