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Montevideo, June 24th 2024 - 19:32 UTC



Leftwing intellectuals and artists want Brazil to stop buying weapons from Israel

Wednesday, May 8th 2024 - 20:23 UTC
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Chico Buarque and his wife Carol Proner are among those signing the petition to be delivered to President Lula Chico Buarque and his wife Carol Proner are among those signing the petition to be delivered to President Lula

A group of Brazilian artists and intellectuals including singer-songwriter Chico Buarque and his wife Carol Proner, have signed a letter for President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to stop buying weapons from Israel. The initiative was also endorsed by Amnesty International (AI) and several far-left political parties who have requested a meeting with the head of state to deliver the note.

The signatories call for “the immediate suspension of all defense agreements and export and import licenses for military equipment with Israel and Israeli companies.” The initiative came days after the Brazilian Army chose the Israeli company Elbit Systems to supply 36 155 mm howitzer armored vehicles in an operation that would result in between 200 and 400 new direct jobs and 400 to 700 indirect jobs created in the South American country.

The Haifa-based Elbit is believed to be one of the main suppliers of armaments to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Its exports have increased during the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

The Brazilian armed forces and the Israeli defense system have a long-standing and strong relationship, so the purchase of the Atmos motorized howitzers from Elbit would not have come as a surprise had it not been for Lula's stance and that of the Workers' Party. According to the website Terra, Brazil's Navy “depends on the Israelis for the maintenance of the turbines of its A4 Skyhawk fighters”.

Earlier this year, Lula was considered “persona non grata” by Tel Aviv for his remarks likening the ongoing military deployment in the Gaza Strip to the genocide perpetrated by Nazi Germany during World War II. He is not “welcome in Israel” until he apologizes for his comments during an appearance in Africa. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Lula was trivializing the Holocaust.

Other Brazilian outlets stressed that the petition called on the Brazilian government to abide by international law and to promote human rights. It also highlights the urgency of effective action to stop Israel's current offensive and mobilize the international community to take collective action against human rights violations.

In the signatories' view, “the Brazilian government must take concrete and immediate measures to prevent the perpetuation of Israel's violations of the imperative norms of international law, distancing itself from any cooperation with such violations.”

The operation with Elbit amounting to between US$ 150 and 200 million also includes a simulator to train Brazilian operational teams.

Meanwhile, the Brazilian police “bought weapons and even espionage material from Israeli companies” and “the Army completed the recent purchase of Spike LR anti-tank missiles.” However, the delivery has been delayed due to the war in Gaza, Terra added.

Categories: Politics, Brazil, International.

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