Brazil’s Lula ‘persona non grata’ for Israel after he compares Gaza war to holocaust

Palestinian death toll crosses 29,000

Israel Brazil Holocaust remark Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva| AP

As the Israel offensive shifts to Rafah, the Palestinian death toll crossed 29,000 on Monday. Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to continue the offensive till total victory over Hamas. Meanwhile, International Court of Justice (ICJ) has started to hear submissions on legal consequences of occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki demanded an immediate end to Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories as the ICJ's hearing began on Monday in Hague. Over 50 states will present arguments before ICJ until Feb 26.

"More than 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, including in Jerusalem, are subjected to colonisation of their territory and racist violence that enables it," said al-Maliki.

The Israel argued that any decision or arbitration by the court risks endangering the agreed peace process in the conclave.

Amid offensive shifting to Rafah, US, Qatar and Egypt is working with mediators to strike a deal to release hostages. Former defence minister and Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz said that Rafah offensive will begin if hostages are not released by Ramadan.

"The world must know, and Hamas leaders must know - if by Ramadan our hostages are not home, the fighting will continue everywhere, to include the Rafah area," said Gantz.

Meanwhile, after Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's harsh remarks against Israel's offensive in Gaza, he was declared "persona non grata" by the former nation. Lula had accused Israel of carrying out "genocide" in Gaza which he compared to the actions of Hitler and the Holocaust.

"We will not forget nor forgive. It is a serious antisemitic attack. In my name and the name of the citizens of Israel – tell president Lula that he is persona non grata in Israel until he takes it back," said Israel's foreign minister Israel Katz in a statement.

Israel's PM Benjamin Netanyahu described the words as "shameful".

Also, the Palestine Red Crescent Society has reported "multiple bombardments by Israeli forces" near al-Amal hospital in Khan Younis. Israeli forces said it recovered AK-47s, drones, explosive devices and additional military equipment. 


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