Brazil’s Lula slams Israel on Gaza war, says UN failed

By Thomson Reuters Feb 15, 2024 | 9:33 AM

CAIRO (Reuters) – Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said on Thursday that the United Nations has failed to resolve international conflicts and harshly criticized Israeli actions in Gaza.

“Israel’s behavior has no explanation: with the pretext of fighting Hamas, it is killing women and children,” he said after a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Speaking later to the Arab League, Lula said Brazil had condemned the Hamas attack on Israeli civilians on Oct. 7, but he added that the Israel’s response was “disproportional and indiscriminate” and unacceptable.

Lula said there would not be peace without the establishment of a Palestinian state and called for an immediate ceasefire to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza.

“The killing must be stopped,” he said.

The Brazilian leader said Palestine should be recognized as a sovereign state and admitted to the United Nations as a full member, and he called for reform of the U.N. Security Council.

“The multilateral institutions that were created to help solve these problems do not work, which is why Brazil is committed to making the necessary changes in global governance bodies, and we hope to count on Egypt’s support,” he said to reporters alongside Sisi.

Lula said the permanent Security Council should be expanded and its veto powers abolished. “It is the permanent members of the Security Council that foment wars,” he said.

Brazil has supported South Africa’s case brought before the International Court of Justice against the Israeli military campaign in Gaza, he added.

The leftist president, who’s on his third non-consecutive term, also announced his government will make a new contribution to the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), which is facing a cash crunch after Israel alleged that 12 of its 13,000 staff in Gaza were involved in the Oct. 7 attack.

“The recent allegations against the agency’s staff need to be properly investigated, but they cannot paralyze it,” he said, calling other countries “to maintain and increase their contributions.”

(Reported from Brazil by Lisandra Paraguassu and Peter Frontini, writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne and Nick Macfie)