Brazilian president compares Gaza war to Holocaust

'What’s happening in Gaza Strip is not war, but genocide,' says Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva

Zehra Nur Düz  | 18.02.2024 - Update : 19.02.2024
Brazilian president compares Gaza war to Holocaust


Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva described Sunday ongoing Israeli attacks on Gaza as "genocide," comparing it to the acts of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, according to local media.

“What’s happening in the Gaza Strip isn’t a war, it’s a genocide,” Brazil's Canal Gov channel quoted Lula da Silva as saying.

“What’s happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people hasn’t happened at any other moment in history. Actually, it has happened: when Hitler decided to kill the Jews,” Lula told reporters in Addis Ababa, where he was attending an African Union summit.

“It’s not a war of soldiers against soldiers. It’s a war between a highly prepared army and women and children,” he added.

Israel on Sunday criticized Silva for comparing the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip to Hitler's Holocaust against Jews, with Tel Aviv announcing that it would summon the South American country's envoy for an official protest on Monday.

In a statement, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz called da Silva’s statements “shameful” and “serious.”

“No one will harm Israel’s right to defend itself. I have ordered the people of my office to summon the Brazilian ambassador for a reprimand call tomorrow,” he added on X.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Brazilian president “crossed a red line.”

“The words of the president of Brazil are shameful and alarming,” he said in a statement. “This is about trivializing the Holocaust and trying to harm the Jewish people and Israel’s right to defend itself.”

The Israeli premier argued that Tel Aviv fights for its future “while upholding international law.”

Israel has pounded the Gaza Strip since an Oct. 7 Hamas attack. The ensuing Israeli attacks have killed nearly 29,000 and caused mass destruction and shortages of necessities, while less than 1,200 Israelis are believed to have been killed in the Hamas attack.

The Israeli war on Gaza has pushed 85% of the territory's population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water and medicine, while 60% of the enclave's infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice. An interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

*Writing by Zehra Nur Duz in Ankara

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