By Lucy Jordan, Senior Contributing Reporter

BRASÍLIA, BRAZIL – As the conflict between Israel and Palestine continues to escalate, Brazil condemned the bloodshed, expressing deep regret for both parties’ loss of life on behalf of Mercosur. A statement released by Brazil’s foreign ministry, Itamaraty, noted that the heads of Mercosur were concerned by a “disproportionate use of force.”

Palestinians try to extinguish a fire in a branch of the Islamic National Bank after an Israeli air strike in Gaza City
Palestinians try to extinguish a fire in a branch of the Islamic National Bank after an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, photo by Xinhua/Yasser Qudin/Télam.

This is likely in reference to the destructive power of Israel’s airstrikes and its well-funded military, compared to the Hamas rockets.

The heads of Mercosur voiced support for Palestine’s bid for UN observer status, and urged both parties to cease attacks. They called on the Security Council of the United Nations “to fully assume its responsibilities.”

In an interview, Israel’s Ambassador to Brazil Rafael Eldad said he was concerned the statement could lend legitimacy to what Israel considers terrorist attacks.

“The conflict is not between Israel and Palestine; it is between Israel and the terrorist organization called Hamas,” he said. “We are living under fire, constantly, for years […] almost half the population. It is as if Brazil had 95 million people living under fire.”

In response, the press office of Itamaraty said that as Brazil recognizes Palestine as a state, it was “natural to talk about this conflict in terms of Israel and Palestine.”

Ambassador Eldad went on to express bafflement at the statement’s reference to Palestine’s efforts to join the UN. “I could not understand what that is to do with a conflict against Hamas,” he said, “and I was sad not to see any mention of sympathy for the millions of Israelis suffering constant attack.”

President Dilma Rousseff receiving Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
President Dilma Rousseff receiving Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Brasília last year, photo by Antonio Cruz/ABr.

Brazil does not consider Hamas to be a terrorist group and has historically been supportive of Palestine, recognizing it as a state along its pre-1967 borders and hosting Palestine’s first embassy in the Americas in December 2010.

Countries throughout Latin America followed Brazil’s lead on Palestinian statehood shortly afterwards. At the time, Israel called Brazil’s moves “seriously harmful” to the Middle East peace process. Washington reportedly said they were “premature.”

In a Monday interview Palestinian Ambassador to Brazil Ibrahim Alzeben welcomed Mercosur’s statement, and applauded Brazil’s support for Palestinian statehood and UN membership.

“Brazil’s position and Mercosur’s position is useful to the Palestinians, and it is a reflection of a pacifist attitude towards the Middle East, which is also helpful to us,” he said. “We are grateful to Brazil for taking this position, for recognizing us as a state and being conscientious about the rights of the Palestinian people.”

The Israel airstrikes against Gaza began last Wednesday, reportedly in response to rocket fire reaching Tel Aviv for the first time. According to local tallies, as of Tuesday 113 Palestinians had been killed in Israeli air strikes, including 54 civilians. Recent sources indicate three Israelis have been killed by Palestinian rocket fire during the recent exchange.

Reports from Gaza suggest that Israel is prepared for a ground invasion, but is holding off while ceasefire talks are held. In a sign that a breakthrough may be imminent, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday left President Barack Obama’s tour of South-east Asia early to help broker peace talks with regional leaders in Jerusalem, Ramallah, and Cairo, the U.S. State Department said.


  1. This indeed is a serious situation that needs to be resolved quickly.

    Hamas is defined as a “Terror Organization” by the EU, U.S., Israel,and Japan.

    They gained power by a democratic election Since June 2007 Hamas has governed the Gaza portion of the Palestinian Territories, after it won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Parliament in the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections and then defeated the Fatah political organization in a series of violent clashes. Israel, the United States, the European Union, and Japan classify Hamas as a terrorist organization, while Arab nations, Russia, and Turkey do not.
    The Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Hamas affiliated military wing, has launched attacks on Israel, against both military and civilian targets. Tactics have included rocket attacks and, from 1993 to 2008, suicide bombings. Military targets included Israeli and Egyptian outposts and border crossings and rival Palestinian militias in the occupied territories.

    In the January 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections Hamas won a decisive majority in the Palestinian Parliament, defeating the PLO-affiliated Fatah party. Following the elections, the United States and the EU halted financial assistance to the Hamas-led administration. In March 2007 a national unity government, headed by Prime Minister Ismail Haniya of Hamas was briefly formed, but this failed to restart international financial assistance. Tensions over control of Palestinian security forces soon erupted into the 2007 Battle of Gaza, after which Hamas retained control of Gaza while its officials were ousted from government positions in the West Bank.

    It can be argued by some they are not terrorists but their actions say otherwise. It is ironic that they were elected even though named as a terrorist organization.
    By splitting the governing factions of the PLO and even seizing control violently can’t be overlooked. Their allies are Syria and Iran which have been giving them better longer range missles.They can now reach Tel Aviv and have fired upon Jerusalem where many Palestinians live. That is hoping to flame the region into conflict and try to force Egypt into the fight. It is interesting that Hezbollah is not getting involved like Hamas wishes with it’s 40,000 superior missles . It has in previous battles and would be devastating to Israel attacking from the Lebanese border and Israel’s missle defense won’t be ready to stop the missles incoming from Lebanon until 2014. Hezbollah has decided to stay out of this mess because they govern Lebanon and view it from that perspective and also realize that their involvement would have dire consequences. Hamas started their missle barrage a few weeks ago and keep stepping it up forcing Israel to defend itself.
    I want it known that I agree Israel worsens things by the continued building of unauthorized settlements but going back to the 1967 borders would leave them unable to defend that border but compromise has to happen.
    Thanks for listening, John H.

  2. Sign-up for “Arutc Sheva” on the internet and get the tale directly from the horses mouth.
    Hamas spews propaganda and sets up scenarios that are false and have been proven to be false,
    Always two sides to the story. If it is repeated enough times, one can beled to believe it.

  3. Amaze me how no one condemns the Hammas and other terror organization, when for months he bombarding Israel territories… does Brasil accept some country bombarding her citizens? I think not!
    Pure Hypocrisy!

  4. Brazil has for decades accepted parallel governments of local crime syndicates as a fact. They are either criminals from the start or policemen and politicians united to abuse the population.
    Terror is something Brazil is afraid of facing as a reality. Just see what’s happened in Santa Catarina and Sao Paulo; if this isn’t terrorism, what is it?
    Brazil’s foreign policy is a mosaic of conflicting positions whose contribution to diplomacy is still a mistery.
    Anyway, shouldn’t we hope for a mature and self-assured foreign minister who has a plan to boost Brazil’s unequivocal vocation to lead in the international scene?
    So, let’s hope.


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