Brazil’s new President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva reaffirmed his support of the Palestinian struggle and an independent Palestinian state, the official news agency WAFA reported on Tuesday.
According to the agency, the president expressed his position during talks with Palestinian Foreign Relations Minister, Riyad Al-Maliki, who traveled to Brasilia to attend Lula’s inauguration.
Al-Maliki conveyed to the Brazilian President greetings from his counterpart Mahmoud Abbas and expressed his wish that Brazil would resume its previous policies of support to the Palestinian people.
In this regard, he recalled that during Lula’s previous terms in office, Brasilia had always been a strong supporter of the Palestinian cause.
During Lula’s previous term from 2003 to 2011, Brazil was a strong supporter of the Palestinian struggle for freedom, a position that was mostly reversed during the term of rightwing Brazilian President Yair Bolsonaro.
Bolsonaro had pledged to relocate his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, following a similar step taken by the US government during Donald Trump’s term in office.
Under pressure from other top Brazilian officials, Bolsonaro refrained from taking such a step, considered illegal under international law. However, the controversial Brazilian president continued to support Tel Aviv’s policies against the Palestinians.
That was considered an extreme diversion from Lula’s earlier policies. During a visit to the occupied Palestinian West Bank in 2010, Lula spoke about his wish to see “an independent and free Palestine”.
Also in 2010, he took the bold move of recognizing Palestine as an independent state within its 1967 borders.
Lula’s step was quickly followed by similar recognitions by other progressive South American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, and Ecuador.
Lula’s position on Palestine continued in later years, when in 2022 he once more emphasized the need for a Palestine state, going as far as demanding the reconstruction of the United Nations so that it can be more effective in resolving major international issues. The example Lula gave was the need for the UN to play a part in the “creation of a Palestinian state”.
(The Palestine Chronicle)