The Lula (PT) government is working to increase political gains with the repatriation of Brazilians who were in the Gaza Strip and also in Israel. The president himself appeared on Monday night (13) at the Brasília Air Base to welcome those repatriated from Gaza, in an event with several media aspects, the presence of ministers and speeches.
The balance of the ten flights to bring more than 1,400 Brazilians and their families back to the country was widely highlighted in the press and, in general, received positive reception on social media.
One of the government’s objectives was to reinforce the image that it was the Lula administration that was responsible for the release of the group of 32 people in Gaza. The concern is justified because of a campaign by allies of Jair Bolsonaro (PL) who seeks to spread the version on the networks that the former president was responsible for the success of the repatriation.
The 32 Brazilians and their families who were in the Gaza Strip, which is being bombarded by Israel, arrived in Brasília on Monday night (13), after more than a month and intense negotiations by the Brazilian government.
Brazilians and Palestinian family members crossed the border with Egypt on Sunday (12). They then went to Cairo, where a Presidency of the Republic plane was waiting for them.
Lula, First Lady Janja and several ministers attended the Brasília Air Base to welcome the group, an event that was widely publicized by the government’s communications team.
Ministers Mauro Vieira (Foreign Affairs), Márcio Macêdo (General Secretary), Flávio Dino (Justice), Nísia Trindade (Health) and Silvio Almeida (Human Rights) were there.
The arrival of the Brazilians who came from the Gaza Strip was the most awaited moment of the Returning in Peace operation, carried out by the Brazilian Air Force in conjunction with the diplomatic corps.
The positive repercussions of the operation helped Planalto overcome some difficulties, in particular the demands that Brazil did not consider Hamas a terrorist organization. Lula himself even stated that the group’s action in attacking Israeli territory was a “terrorist act”, but that the organization’s classification should be decided by the UN Security Council — Brazil has historically followed the organization’s guidance.
Bolsonaristas sought to politically exploit Lula’s statements critical of Israel and the proximity of PT members and allies to the Palestinian cause. In recent days, the narrative has spread that Bolsonaro’s collaboration with the Israelis would have resulted in the release of Brazilians.
Bolsonaro met last week with Ambassador Daniel Zonshine, at an event in the Chamber of Deputies to show videos of Hamas terrorist attacks. The episode was one of the examples used by Bolsonarists to spread the thesis.
“Congratulations President Bolsonaro! In the same week that you became directly involved in resolving the drama of Brazilians in Gaza, after weeks of mistakes by the radical ‘diplomacy’ of the PT, our brothers are free. That’s what Brazil is back!”, he wrote in Senator Ciro Nogueira (PP-PI), who was Minister of the Civil House in the Bolsonaro government, is on his social network.
Upon the arrival of Brazilians from Gaza, Lula continued his rhetorical escalation in relation to Israel.
The president had stated in the previous hours that Israel’s reaction was “as serious” as the Hamas terrorist attack. Lula later also began to describe the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip as terrorism.
“If Hamas committed an act of terrorism and did what it did, the State of Israel is also committing several acts of terrorism by not taking into account that children are not at war; by not taking into account that women are not at war.” war; by not taking into account that they are not killing soldiers, they are also killing children”, declared the president upon receiving the repatriates.
Lula later repeated the dose in his internet broadcast, Conversa com o Presidente. He said Israel’s act was terrorism for victimizing innocent women and children.
The president also added that he had the impression that Israel seeks to expel the Palestinians from the Gaza Strip to occupy the region.
“The UN needs to call for something special because this war, as it is, has no end. I’m realizing that Israel seems to want to occupy the Gaza Strip and expel the Palestinians from there. That’s not right, it’s not fair. We have to guarantee the creation of the Palestinian State so that they can live in peace together with the Jewish people”, said the president.
The statements came in a crescendo, considering that the Brazilian president had been criticizing Israel’s reaction, but avoiding stronger terms, such as terrorism.
At the end of October, the president even stated that the war was a “genocide”, but without making it clear whether it was only one side that promoted this action.
“The problem is that it is not a war, it is genocide that has already killed almost 2,000 children who have nothing to do with this war, they are victims of this war. I don’t know how a human being is capable of fighting a war knowing that the result of this war is the death of innocents,” he said.