Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff hits Israel hard calling the country responsible for carrying out a "massacre by hitting civilians, especially women and children." She described Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip as disproportionate.
Ever since the bombardment began three weeks ago, 1,030 Palestinians have died, among whom women and children. On Israel's side, 42 deaths have been reported, all of them soldiers.
"I don't think it's genocide, but I do think it's a massacre. It's a disproportionate action," the president said. She also regarded as deplorable the statement of Yigal Palmo, the spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry.
According to a Jerusalem newspaper, he referred to Brazil as a "diplomatic dwarf." "I feel sorry for the spokesman's words, as [they] bring about a very negative atmosphere. We should be careful with words," she declared.
Rousseff spoke during a meeting organized by radio and television broadcasters of the Estado de S, Paulo group to learn the stance adopted by the current presidential candidates.
The president, however, denied the existence of a diplomatic crisis with Israel, and reiterated that Brazil was the first country to recognize the Jewish state. She further argued that Brazil supports the existence of both Israel and Palestine as states.
Rousseff praised the position of the UN Security Council, which issued a call for a humanitarian ceasefire in the area. "UN's decision of demanding an immediate ceasefire is very welcome, since it's a situation that must not continue," she noted.
Against the President
Over a hundred people staged a demonstration this Wednesday, July 30, outside the building of the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Relations in capital Brasília against the government's opposition against the Israel's "disproportionate use of force" in the Gaza Strip.
Protesters believe it was wrong that Brazil should condemn Israel without mentioning the Islamic resistance movement Hamas. Demonstrators, among whom members of evangelical churches and the Jewish community, also expressed criticism over Brazil's decision to recall its ambassador in Tel Aviv for consultations.
The leaders of the demonstration were received by the Ministry's Undersecretary for African and Middle Eastern Affairs, Ambassador Paulo Cordeiro, with whom they talked for about an hour. They handed to him a manifesto written out by members of the Christian Jewish communities.
According to demonstrator Kélita Rejanne Cunha, the undersecretary said that Brazil does not plan to break off its diplomatic relations with Israel.
Rejanne added, however, that the moment when the Brazilian ambassador is to return to Israel is not known. She also noted that Paulo Cordeiro also emphasized that Brazil does not endorse the actions of Hamas.
The protester further stated that Christians and the Jewish community will keep calling for a change in the stance adopted by the Brazilian government.
"We'll keep saying Brazil needs to take a coherent position, one of balance, as a mediator. The current manner in which the country has conducted the situation will lead to no solution whatsoever," she added.
Last week, Brazil's Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figueiredo endorsed the position of the Brazilian government, which strongly "condemned the disproportionate use of force" by Israel in the Gaza Strip. Figueiredo further stated that the Ministry had already issued a note condemning Hamas for the rockets launched against Israel.
The chancellor also argued for measure taken by the UN Human Rights Council. Brazil voted to oppose Israel's offensive, and to create an international commission in an effort to investigate violations and charge those accountable.