Brazilian Ambassador to Israel Frederico Mayer (right) with Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz while delivering a statement at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in occupied Jerusalem (European)

Brazilian and Israeli media reports reported that Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva summoned - Monday evening - his country's ambassador to Israel for consultations, in response to Tel Aviv's rebuke of him against the backdrop of statements made by da Silva regarding the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip.

The Brazilian newspaper Voya de São Paulo reported that President Lula da Silva summoned the country's ambassador to Israel, Frederico Mayer, for consultations, after Israeli media announced that Brazil had decided to return its ambassador from Tel Aviv, as well as summoning the Israeli ambassador to it for reprimand.

Earlier, Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz summoned the Brazilian ambassador to rebuke him following statements by the Brazilian president in which he likened the war on the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the Gaza Strip to the genocide committed by the Nazis during World War II.

Earlier today, Monday, the Israeli Foreign Minister announced that the Brazilian president will remain “persona non grata” in Israel until he retracts his statements in which he likened the Israeli war on the Gaza Strip to the genocide committed by the Nazis during World War II.

A statement issued by Katz's office said that the minister told the Brazilian ambassador, "We will not forget and we will not forgive. It is a dangerous anti-Semitic attack. Tell President Lula - in my name and in the name of the citizens of Israel - that he is persona non grata in Israel so that he will withdraw."

Israel accuses Lula of belittling the Holocaust and insulting the Jews, and Katz summoned the Brazilian ambassador to denounce his president's statements.

Brazilian President Lula da Silva accused Israel on Sunday of committing "genocide" in the Gaza Strip, likening what it was doing there to the "Holocaust" during World War II.

The Brazilian president told reporters in Addis Ababa, where he attended an African Union summit, that “what is happening in the Gaza Strip is not a war, it is genocide,” adding, “It is not a war of soldiers against soldiers, it is a war between a highly prepared army and women and children.”

The Brazilian president added that this "did not happen at any other stage in history," before adding, "In fact, it had already happened when Hitler decided to kill the Jews."

In the wake of these statements, angry and condemning Israeli reactions continued, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, “Comparing Israel to the Nazi Holocaust and Hitler is crossing a red line.”

Netanyahu considered these statements an attempt to downplay the Holocaust and to undermine the Jewish people and Israel's right to defend itself, he said. Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid also considered the Brazilian president's statements "disgraceful, anti-Semitic, and indicative of ignorance."

It is noteworthy that da Silva previously described the Al-Aqsa Flood operation, which was carried out by the Palestinian resistance, led by the Hamas movement, on the seventh of last October, as a “terrorist act,” but since then, he has strongly criticized the retaliatory military campaign launched by Israel against the Gaza Strip. Continuing for the 136th day, leaving tens of thousands of martyrs and wounded and massive destruction of residential buildings and vital facilities.

Source: Agencies