The newly-elected president of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, apologized to Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff for the remarks made by the spokesman for Israel’s Foreign Ministry, Yigal Palmor, in which Palmor called Brazil a “diplomatic dwarf”.
The two presidents talked on the telephone on Monday, August 11, about the recent developments in the Israel-Gaza conflict.
According to a press release issued by the Secretariat of Social Communication of Brazil’s Presidency, Rivlin said that the words used by Israel’s official “do not reflect the sentiment of the population of his country about Brazil.”
The spokesman’s remarks were given in July, as a response to the Brazil Foreign Ministry’s open criticism of the disproportionate use of force by Israel in the conflict in Gaza.
Rousseff reiterated Brazil’s historical stance of advocating coexistence between Israel and Palestine “as two sovereign, economically viable, and above all, safe states.”
Also according to the statement, Rousseff reaffirmed Brasília’s objection to attacks on Israel, just as well as their opposition to Israel’s “disproportionate use of force in Gaza, leading to the deaths of hundreds of civilians, especially women and children.”
Israel’s president said his country was defending itself from missile attacks on the territory. Rousseff, in turn, expressed hope that the ceasefire and the ongoing negotiations can lead to a final settlement of peace in the region.
Finally, Rousseff noted that the crisis over Gaza “cannot be an excuse for any expression of racism, whether towards Israelis or Palestinians.”