Demonstration in support of Palestine calls for an end to relations between Brazil and Israel

A protest in Brasilia happened after the government announced the purchase of weapons from Israel

Translated by: Ana Paula Rocha

Brasil de Fato | Brasilia |
Protest in front of the Itamaraty Palace, Brasilia, had immigrants and relatives of Palestinians - Foto: Júlio Camargo

On Tuesday (7), the Palestine Solidarity Committee held a public demonstration in front of the Itamaraty Palace, which houses the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in Brasilia. In addition to denouncing the Israeli offensive that has killed more than 30,000 people, the demonstration also called for an end to the diplomatic and economic relations Brazil still has with Israel.

One of the reasons for the demonstration was the news that the Brazilian army had ordered the purchase of 36 howitzers, armored combat vehicles, from the Israeli company Elbit Systems.

The purchase of howitzers is estimated at around BRL1 billion (over US$193,6 mi). In the bidding process, Elbit Systems was chosen by Brazilian Defense even though there were cheaper options from countries like France, China and Slovakia. The Brazilian Army's decision has sparked criticism from human rights organizations and members of the Brazilian parliament, who question the purchase of weapons from a company involved in what is considered a genocidal process.

“Our taxes should pay for life, not genocide. Our taxes will not finance genocidal states. Our taxes are for clean technology, not genocidal or ecocidal technology. Our taxes should fund competent technology, not cowardly technology,” said the protesters in front of Itamaraty.

Since October 7 last year, the number of fatalities has exceeded 35,000 Palestinians; about 70% of the victims are women and children. During the demonstration in solidarity with the Palestinian people, a group of 12 women played Palestinian mothers carrying the bodies of dead children.

“I'm part of an Amnesty International committee that demands the end of Brazilian relations with Israel. We've been fighting for this for a long time. This has to happen as soon as possible. We're already late in this regard. We have nothing to add to Israel. We don't need them and we don't want to take this war any further. I'm not speaking against Jews, but against the Israeli government, which has been carrying out a daily massacre,” said Isa Soares Oliveira.

Activist Thiago Ávila adds that Brazil's position on trading with Zionist militarism is contradictory. “Brazil has always shown solidarity with the Palestinian people, including the fact that the Brazilian government under President Lula was the first to recognize the Palestinian state and opened a Palestinian embassy in Brasilia [Brazil’s capital city]. We have historical relations of solidarity with this people who have been victims of genocide for over 76 years, a violent process of ethnic cleansing carried out by the Zionist state that was established through colonization and apartheid.”

Ávila points out that the purchase of weapons from Israel could mean that Brazil is complicit in the genocide of the Palestinian people. “The Armed Forces claim that it was a legal purchase, that it followed legal procedures. But the truth is that Brazil is a signatory to international conventions on genocide and apartheid. Therefore, the country is acting against international law by making this purchase from a company that, in practice, is primarily responsible for the Zionist war machine. We are here to demand that the Brazilian government immediately stop buying these armored vehicles and stop all other military, academic and commercial agreements with Israel. We also pressure Mercosur [Southern Common Market, a trade bloc that includes Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay] to do the same.”

The global BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, which advocates an economic boycott of the State of Israel, calls for a “total embargo” on arms from Israel, following the example of Colombia under the government of Gustavo Petro.

“Brazil is becoming a fierce accomplice [of the Israeli crimes] by indirectly financing the Israeli genocide through these contracts,” said Andressa Soares, BDS representative in Brazil. Elbit Systems is one of Israel's largest manufacturers of weapons and military systems and has been accused of supplying technology for Israeli attacks on Palestine, which have caused thousands of civilian deaths.

“Brazil has the responsibility to defend human rights and peace around the world,” said Soares. “Buying weapons from a company complicit in war crimes is an unacceptable act that tarnishes our country's image.”

Israel attacks Rafah

Located on the southern border of the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian city of Rafah received heavy shelling from Israel on Tuesday (7). The crossing that takes aid to other parts of Gaza was closed by Israeli tanks. The shelling killed at least 23 people in Rafah, which since the start of the offensive has become a center of refuge for the civilian population and a gateway for humanitarian aid.

Around 1.5 million people have taken refuge in the city, fleeing bombings in other parts of Gaza.


Source: BdF Distrito Federal

Edited by: Márcia Silva