Brazil’s president accused Israel of “killing innocent people without any discernment” in the Gaza Strip, likening its actions there to the severity of the October 7 attacks by a Palestinian militant group Hamas.
“After the act of terrorism provoked by Hamas, the consequences, the solution of the state of Israel, is as grave as that of Hamas. They are killing innocent people without any criteria,” said Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva at an official ceremony in Brasilia.
The leader of Latin America’s largest country also accused Israel of “dropping bombs where there are children, hospitals, on the pretext that a terrorist is there.”
“This is inexplicable. First you have to save the women and children, then you fight with whomever you want,” Lula said.
Representatives of Brazil’s Jewish community denounced these remarks as “erroneous”, “unfair” and “dangerous”, adding that they “put Israel and Hamas on the same level”.
They defended the “visible and proven” efforts of the Israeli authorities “to save Palestinian civilians”.
“Our community expects balance from our authorities,” added the Israeli Confederation of Brazil, which claims to represent some 120,000 Brazilian Jews, the second largest community in the region, in a statement.
On October 7, Hamas fighters attacked Israel, killing around 1,200 people, most of them civilians, according to the authorities.
The Israeli army estimates that some 240 people have also been taken hostage by the group.
Since then, Israel has pounded Gaza relentlessly, killing some 11,240 people, mostly civilians, including 4,630 children, according to the Hamas-run health ministry there.
Israel denies deliberately targeting hospitals. It accuses Hamas of using these facilities, or the tunnels beneath them, as hideouts, which the Islamist militant group denies.
Lula’s comments came as he welcomed to Brasilia 22 Brazilians and 10 members of their families who had been evacuated from Gaza on Sunday via the land border with Egypt, after more than a month of waiting in the conflict zone.