Brazil's Lula denounces Israeli collective punishment in Gaza at the Arab League

AFP , Ahram Online , Friday 16 Feb 2024

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva denounced Israel's war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip Thursday as "collective punishment" in a speech at the headquarters of the League of Arab States in Cairo.

Lula da Silva
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva speaks during an Arab League meeting to discuss the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, in Cairo on February 15, 2024. AFP


On his second trip to Egypt and his first during his current term, Lula spoke to an Arab League meeting discussing the situation in Gaza, which has been devastated by more than four months of war.

"We must put an end to this inhumanity and cowardice. Stop the collective punishment," the Brazilian leader said in his speech.

International warnings have grown in response to Israel's military campaign, as vast swathes of Gaza have been levelled, with the majority of the territory's population displaced and pushed to the brink of starvation.

Concern has mounted after Israel vowed to push ahead with a major operation in Gaza's southernmost city of Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians remain trapped.

"The most urgent task is to establish a definitive ceasefire that allows humanitarian aid to be provided sustainably and freely and the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages" held by Hamas, Lula added.

"There can be no peace until there is a Palestinian state, with mutually agreed and internationally recognised borders, including the Gaza Strip and West Bank, with east Jerusalem as its capital," he asserted.

This is the first time a Brazilian president has addressed the Arab League at its headquarters in Cairo.

Earlier Thursday, Lula da Silva held a summit with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, where the two leaders called for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the release of captives and prisoners held by both sides of the conflict.

They also called for allowing more humanitarian aid to flow into Gaza.

The Israeli war in Gaza has led to the death of over 28,000 Palestinians, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

This is Lula da Silva's second official visit to Egypt

The first was in 2003, when he became the first Brazilian head of state to visit Egypt since Pedro II of Brazil in the 1870s, according to the Brazilian presidency. 

The visit to Cairo follows Lula da Silva’s participation in the COP27 Sharm El-Sheikh summit in December 2022 when he was president-elect.

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