Brazil withdraws ambassador in Tel Aviv over Gaza war

BRASÍLIA   -   Brazil has recalled its ambassador to Israel and will not immediately appoint a replacement, a diplomatic source told AFP Wednesday, ratcheting up tensions between the two countries over Israel’s war in Gaza. The nearly eight-month-old conflict has soured Israel’s diplomatic ties with several nations, including Brazil, whose President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in February accused the country’s government of “genocide.”

Israel reacted furiously, declaring the Brazilian leader “persona non grata.” Israel had previously summoned the South American country’s ambassador Frederico Meyer to a meeting at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial center in Jerusalem, which the Brazilian source said “was a humiliation to which (Meyer) was subjected.”

In response, Brazil recalled Meyer for consultations, and in turn, summoned Israel’s representative in Brasilia. The source said conditions had not been met for Meyer “to return” to Israel.

The Brazilian representation in Israel in the meantime will be led by diplomat Fabio Farias.

Lula, a prominent voice for the global south whose country currently holds the rotating presidency of the G20, has received support in Latin America, notably from Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro who has also severed ties with Israel. Both Brazil and Colombia have supported South Africa’s complaint against Israel to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, alleging the Gaza assault amounted to a breach of the Genocide Convention.

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