Brazil and the genocide in the Gaza Strip

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By MAREN MANTOVANI*

Brazil, despite positive calls to end the massacre in Gaza, continues to play an essential role in keeping Israel's genocidal machine running

Introduction

Even though the Brazilian and world media have downgraded the genocide in Gaza to one piece of news among others, the conditions for the 2,3 million Palestinians in the besieged, isolated and bombed Strip are reaching increasingly horrific levels. The number of dead and missing people reaches 50 thousand, 70% of them women and children. In Gaza, 90% of the infrastructure is devastated, there are no longer any properly functioning hospitals.

More than 30 children have already died of hunger and many more from illnesses caused by poor nutrition, lack of water and medical treatment. And Israel continues to bomb hospitals and refugee camps. The level of cruelty of the Israeli occupation forces reaches the point of bombarding the Palestinian population in line to receive the rare humanitarian aid that arrives in Gaza.

Colonial powers, led by the US and Europe, are supporting the genocide. Waiting for them to take initiative in confronting the Israeli government is equivalent to condemning the Palestinian people to death. However, people around the world took initiative. The massive and continuous mobilizations, protests, blockades and student camps at a global level have achieved a historic, perhaps irremediable, breakdown in Israel's legitimacy.

A few weeks ago, within the framework of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the European Union, for the first time, the taboo was broken and spoke up “significantly” sanctions on the State of Israel. However, today, it is more evident than ever that concrete initiatives will only come from the Global South.

In December 2023, the Malasia imposed a ban on all Israeli-owned and flagged ships, as well as any ships bound for Israel, from docking in its ports. In May 2024, the Turkey stopped all trade with Israel. Other states have also imposed sanctions, including Colombia, which in February 2022 announced the full suspension of Israeli arms purchases, and then cut diplomatic relations in May 2024. Finally, Colombia, in June, began the process to forbid all coal exports to Israel.

A initiative South African decision to accuse Israel of genocide before the International Court of Justice also had an important legal and diplomatic role. The Court's ruling that Israel is, in fact, committing genocide in Gaza has put pressure on many countries to reduce or cut their complicity in the ongoing genocide.

A ceasefire and the entry of humanitarian aid at this time is the most urgent demand. However, this would not mean the end of genocidal conditions in Gaza. Former UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights, Richard Falk, described Already in 2009, Israeli policies, the repeated massacres and the continuous, illegal and paralyzing siege that destroyed all spheres of life in Gaza, as “a prelude to genocide”. For the genocide to end, the rights, including the right to self-determination, of the Palestinian people must be recognized.

To contribute to peace and the end of the crimes of genocide and apartheid Israelis, the world has to face the problem of its root cause: After the incomplete ethnic cleansing that founded the state of Israel in 1948, the Israeli colonial project has used apartheid as a temporary measure to manage, or better said, oppress, the population Palestine.

Patrick Wolfe in Settlement colonialism and the elimination of the native highlights that every colonial settlement society considers the elimination of the indigenous population, or at least its resistance, a necessity. This elimination includes the physical and genocidal elimination of the people, as well as their expulsion from the land and a multitude of strategies designed to disrupt, fragment and weaken indigenous society so that at least the next generation no longer resists dispossession and oppression, and renounce claims for your rights. The indigenous peoples of the Americas know this better than anyone.

In South Africa, boycotts, divestment and sanctions ended apartheid before it reached the final stage of genocide. Not in Palestine. And today we are witnessing a terrible genocide in real time and live.

At the beginning of the genocide, Brazil, as president of the UN Security Council, mobilized all its diplomacy to attempt the impossible — a global agreement to cease fire. President Lula was one of the first Heads of State to recognize that Israel was (and is) committing a genocide and despite pressure he did not deny it. On the contrary, Brazil quickly gave its support to the cause brought by South Africa before the International Court of Justice. In fact, it has downgraded its diplomatic presence in Tel Aviv, even though the main reason given was not the Israeli genocide and apartheid, but the insult suffered by the Brazilian ambassador.

These diplomatic words and actions are important but insufficient

The International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court, the UN General Assembly, the Security Council, all the most influential bodies in the world have demanded a ceasefire. No results. The effort, mainly by the USA and some European countries, to discredit the entire United Nations and human rights system to protect Israel is also risking irreversibly discrediting the UN and international law under the rubble of Gaza.

The president of Colombia, Gustavo Petro, already in October last year warned that “What we see in Palestine will also be the suffering in the world of all the peoples of the South. [...] Gaza is just the first experiment for us to consider everyone disposable”. He drew his conclusions and began to act.

The only way to exert influence and achieve a ceasefire and end to the genocide is through concrete pressure, boycotts, divestment and sanctions.

In the face of genocide, wanting to exert influence is not a choice, it is a duty. Any aid or support for a genocide or a crime against humanity is complicity and failure to act carries the risk of being held accountable under international law.

And is Brazil fulfilling its duties, as per its constitution? Are you part of the countries that are paving the way to end genocide? Are you actually defending, and not just rhetorically, the Palestinian cause, the cause of humanity, and the human rights system?

In recent months, the Ministry of Defense has further strengthened Brazil's military relations with Israel. Petrobrás has continued to supply fuels that fuel the Israeli genocide machine. The Free Trade Agreement between Israel and Brazil remains in force, although the clause that decrees the exclusion of products from illegal Israeli settlements from the agreement and which was the precondition for the ratification of the agreement, has never been applied to this day. The sad conclusion is that today Brazil, despite the positive gestures that we have already highlighted, continues to play an essential role in keeping Israel's genocidal machine running.

Its complicity will never be at the level of the USA, Germany and England and other colonial powers, but this should not be the reference or aspiration for Brazil. It would be expected that Itamaraty would be at the forefront of defending international law and institutions, but, at the very least, it is necessary to demand that Brazil cease any complicity with genocide and apartheid.

In the case of Ukraine, Itamaraty has vetoed the sale de armored to maintain diplomatic neutrality. Because in the case of the Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people, the Foreign Ministry considers its role and responsibility claiming that “escapes its area of ​​activity” and allows Brazil to be, in these cases, on the side of the genocidal State of Israel?

After protests social movements, parliamentarians and also a letter of prominent intellectuals, academics and artists in Brazil, the contract for howitzers from the largest Israeli military company Elbit Systems was suspended on May 8, for 60 days, to “submit the process again to the legal advisors of the Ministry of Defense due to changes made in the final phase of the bid selection process”. July 9th ends the 60 days. And then?

Why doesn't the government cancel this contract that allocates one billion reais from the New PAC to financing the Israeli genocide? This money could pay the salaries of 333.325 nurses or 250 teachers.

Why does Petrobras supply Israeli tanks in Gaza with oil?

Now is the time to cut all military relations, ban the export of fuel, cancel the Free Trade Agreement with Israel and ban the import of products from illegal Israeli settlements.

The legal framework: It's not a choice, it's a duty!

Na analysis Legal The most authoritative to date on the “Obligations of Third States and Corporations to Prevent and Punish Genocide in Gaza”, Dr. Irene Pietropaoli argues the obligation to act:

“The obligation to prevent genocide and the corresponding duty to act begin, as the ICJ [International Court of Justice] clarified in the case of Bosnia v Serbia, “at the moment the State becomes aware, or normally should have become aware, of the existence of a serious risk that genocide will occur.” From that moment on, if the State has at its disposal means capable of having a deterrent effect on those suspected of preparing genocide, or reasonably suspected of harboring a specific intention (dolus specialis), it has the duty to make such use of those means as circumstances permit.” […] The genocide commission's 'serious risk' criterion is triggered by the genocide commission's 'plausibility' criterion necessary for the indication of provisional measures in the case of South Africa v Israel”.

“A State can be held responsible when it does not implement all legal means under its authority” warns Irene Pietropaoli, citing the purchase of Elbit howitzers by Brazil in particular. It highlights that States have a responsibility to “employ all reasonably available means so as to prevent genocide as far as possible”. The more “capacity for influence, that is to say, the more political, military and financial connections, as well as connections of all other types” that States have, the more responsibility they have.

In its analysis it specifies that “Following the ICJ order of 26 January – and subsequent orders of 28 March and 24 May – and based on their obligations under the Genocide Convention and international humanitarian law, Third States need to take immediate steps to ensure that their economic relationship with Israel and the activities of companies domiciled in its territories do not violate their duty to prevent and not be complicit in genocide, and in order to ensure that they are not complicit in or aid and assist in the commission of war crimes by Israel. Companies also have this responsibility regardless of the regulations in their home states. These actions include: an arms embargo – covering export, import and transit (including the use of territorial airspace and territorial waters), including fuel and technology used for military purposes -; economic sanctions and suspension of commercial relations, including public contracts and investments; holding companies that contribute to genocide accountable; and greater human rights due diligence obligations.”

Indeed, these obligations have already been taken seriously by a number of governments or imposed by national courts. The Colombian president, Gustavo Petro, announced the suspension of the purchase of new equipment and contracts with companies linked to the state of Israel and the genocide, so that the equipment already acquired will be used until the end of its life cycle and then replaced by options from companies in other countries. The regional government of Wallonia, in Belgium, suspended two arms export licenses to Israel. A court Dutch ordered the government to suspend the export of F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel. Corporations Japanese ended the country's first joint venture with Israeli military company Elbit Systems, based on the ICJ ruling. At Germany it is us USA, political leaders are brought to justice by their citizens for complicity in genocide.

A proposal, defeated by the majority, of deputy Perpétua Almeida that the military agreements with Israel have the clause “that defense companies, equipment and technologies used in operations that violate human rights against the Palestinian people are excluded from participating in this agreement” would have It was essential for Brazil not to be directly complicit in the genocide.

While the illegality of any military relations with Israel seems evident, the supplying of Israel's apartheid regime with oil is also part of the actions internationally recognized as illegal. David Boyd, United Nations special rapporteur on human issues, rights and the environment, alert that “The countries and companies that have continued to supply oil to the Israeli military since the International Court of Justice ruling are contributing to horrific human rights violations and may be complicit in genocide.”

Taking advantage of the weapons of genocide?

The fact that Brazil is continuing to maintain and strengthen military relations with Israel in the midst of a genocide is perhaps the most evidently scandalous aspect.

The movements have been denouncing for years the import of weapons, technology and military and repressive doctrines from Israel. Israeli weaponry, technologies and doctrines are developed to maintain and advance the colonization of Palestine and Israeli apartheid, ethnic cleansing and now the genocide of the Palestinian people. They are being tested on Palestinian bodies and promoted as such.

Worse still, as experts in public security and black and favela movements in Brazil warn, military and “security” relations with Israel also worsen human rights violations, racism and militarization in Brazilian territory. The money that Brazil spends on these businesses diverts resources from the public budget to the Israeli industry and economy, allowing it to continue its crimes against humanity and genocide.

The new PAC finances genocide

In the case of the last contract worth almost one billion reais for howitzers from the Israeli Elbit Systems, the budget he arrives directly through financing from the New PAC, created to “accelerate economic growth and social inclusion” in Brazil. In this case it ends up financing genocide and Israeli apartheid. The losses go beyond that and even affect those in Brazil who defend militarization.

The winner of the recent bidding process for 36 new 155mm howitzers was Elbit Systems, Israel's largest military company. A Elbit is based on the experience of the Israel Ministry of Defense's Research Institute and profits enormously from supplying the Israeli military with a variety of weapons used to sustain apartheid and the Israeli genocide against the Palestinian people.

Their howitzers are being used in Gaza and also by the Ukrainian army. They are “statistical” weapons – they have no precision, therefore, they can create great destruction in an area of ​​undetermined extent. They are useful in a genocide through the total destruction of an area, as in Gaza, or to create a wall of fire and destruction in the face of a larger army, as in Ukraine. Here the question arises of what war scenario or doctrine is the Ministry of Defense planning to need these weapons?

Perhaps it is better that the Brazilian army does not need these howitzers, since it is unlikely that Brazil will have these howitzers anytime soon.

Another Israeli company, Rafael, delayed the delivery of the Spike LR anti-tank missiles that Brazil had contracted and which were to be delivered from the second half of 2023 “due to the war”, since all the productive capacity of military companies is focused on producing weapons for the genocide in Gaza.

Since the Israeli armed forces are the more client of Elbit and since Israel is preparing for the continuation of the genocide in Gaza and expansion of its war in Lebanon, and added to the current political climate between Brazil and Israel, it seems that the contract is more of a war credit to Elbit Systems than anything else.

What makes the fact that the budget for howitzers arrives from the New PAC even more contradictory is that, according to Estadão on 18 June 2024, the Slovak company Zuzana had signed a partnership with the Brazilian Avibras, which is currently dealing with financial problems and this contract would have opened up the possibility of saving a Brazilian company.

In addition to the objectives of the New PAC, the Law no. 12.598/12 on special rules for purchasing, contracting and developing products and defense systems establishes that only companies that, among others, can ensure that the set of partners or shareholders and groups of partners or foreign shareholders cannot cast a number of votes at each general meeting greater than 2/3 (two thirds) of the total votes that can be cast by Brazilian shareholders present. The use of the law in the context of contracting defense products or systems is mandatory.

Elbit Systems, in fact, has a partnership in the contract with a “Brazilian” company, AEL Sistemas, however, it is a subsidiary of Elbit Systems and does not meet the requirements for the definition of EEDs. It is also worth remembering how the Gaucho company AEL Sistemas became a subsidiary of Elbit, as it clearly shows the dynamics of the process of Israeliization of the Brazilian military industry that has been ongoing for more than two decades. AEL Sistemas was in financial trouble, but well positioned to win an important bid, perhaps capable of saving it. The FAB ruled against AEL and awarded the contract to Elbit Systems. When AEL failed, Elbit was quick to take over.

According to the Brazilian army, to the R$900 million contract at the current exchange rate, an additional 15% to 20% has been spent on training and qualifying its troops to use the equipment. Federico Medella, commercial director of Ares, another Brazilian company that Elbit bought, explains: “EB will have a team of highly qualified and qualified professionals, with extensive knowledge of the operation and maintenance of the system.” This, one imagines, refers to the personnel of the Israeli genocidal army.

Will the training “experts” be those who have been launched or those who have trained those who launched the 155mm that has played a fundamental role in the genocide in Gaza? According to Brazilian policy that recognizes that Israel is committing war crimes and genocide, these people, instead of being paid by the EB for training, would have to be held accountable by Brazilian justice according to the principle of international jurisdiction for criminal acts under international law. .

Drones that don't fly

O contract of R$86 million for the maintenance of two RQ-1150 Heron I drones from Israel Aerospace Industries, a model that Israel has already put out of use due to being outdated, was signed in May 2024 due to ineligibility for bidding. A total of 64 matches and civil society organizations questioned the contract that provides maintenance over 5 years. In addition to being another financing for the Israeli genocide, the story of the two drones is, to say the least, bizarre.

The drones in question were purchased in 2009 and disabled in 2016 due to lack of use. They just flew mil hours of the 40 thousand planned. The first purchase and tender of IAI's Heron I was already highly questionable, as it did not take into account the future costs required for maintenance and due to the fact that these UAVs are valued above all for their large payload - up to 490 kg of explosives -, and in fact hardly suitable for the surveillance program of the Federal Police in the Foz de Iguaçu region (SISVANT project) for which they were initially purchased.

In January 2019, under the government of Jair Bolsonaro, a new contract with IAI for equipment maintenance. In November 2019, the Sierra Working Group was created and carried out 40 minutes flight with drones. In August 2020, the GT-Sierra was discontinued. Since then, drones have been used by the IVR Squadron in the 1st/7th GAV, and the role of drones is now described as “disseminating knowledge and doctrines related to the use of airborne imaging sensors on the P-3AM and RQ-1150 Heron I aircraft”, that is, they serve so that military personnel can test the Heron I sensors without understanding the usefulness of this, since after drones are not used.

What role would training on the Heron I by pilots of Lockheed's P-3AM anti-submarine planes have? renewed in its technology by the Franco-German Airbus Defense and Space, is a FAB mystery. The question also remains: What is the reason why P-3AM pilots cannot study the P-3AM sensors on the P-3AM?

Although the FAB uses other drones, for example, in the militarization of River of January, never in the 14 years that Brazil has been spending exorbitant sums of money on these drones has any operational use – for better or for worse – of these equipment been reported.

The RQ-1150 Heron I were purchased by R$ 27 M each one, and when they were disabled the total expenditure on the SISVANT project reached R$150 million. Including the R$86 million, and not counting the contract during the Bolsonaro government, of which we do not know the value, the Brazilian state has already spent at least R$236 million on maintenance, paying more than four times its initial cost. This, when ironically the IAI promotes the Heron as UAVs with “low life cycle costs” (low lifecycle cost).

It is also surprising that the current R$86 million maintenance contract provides 2.417 hours flight, that is, R$ 35581 per hour. However, the SISVANT project had planned 40 thousand flight hours, with an expected cost per hour of R$3755. How did the cost per flight hour increase almost 10 times?

The country has already committed maintenance resources that would be sufficient to purchase new drones from other non-Israeli companies. Since Embraer, in 2021, started producing Brazilian drones, common New model developed in 2022, and in line with Law No. 12.598/12, has the possibility, if not the obligation, of replacement with national products. In fact, Brazilian researchers and experts have criticized the FAB's choice to continue and deepen its dependence on foreign states and put national sovereignty at risk.

Cooperation agreements with genocide and apartheid

Amid the ongoing genocide against the Palestinian people, the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies approved 3 cooperation agreements with the State of Israel, signed by former president Jair Bolsonaro, one of them in the area of "security public”. In addition to these, another military cooperation agreement, also signed by Bolsonaro, had already been ratified by the National Congress in 2022.

O Wake up in the military area aims, in addition to cooperation “in the fields of acquisition, research and development, logistical support and mobilization”, to “allow the Parties to benefit from projects of mutual interest, exchange technologies, training and education in military matters (government entities or private companies in their respective countries)” and to “share knowledge and operational experiences”.

This cooperation includes “exchange of personnel”, “exchange of technical data, information and hardware” and “researching equipment projects of mutual interest to both Parties, for the purpose of production and commercialization”. In other words, the Agreement sanctions full participation in the genocide of the Palestinian people through the cooperation and assistance given and received by the Israeli armed forces and private entities. The prospect of Brazilian private and public entities benefiting from genocidal “operational experiences” also seems worrying in the Brazilian context.

O Wake up related to “public security”, still being processed in the Senate, aims at cooperation in “governance practices in joint actions” and “sharing of knowledge, experiences, expertise, information, research and good practices”. The Agreement's counterpart is the Israeli Ministry of “National Security”, led by Itamar Ben-Gvir, the settler convicted by the same Israeli courts for being part of a terrorist group “Kach”. It is currently among the most explicit in inciting the genocide of the Palestinian people.

For decades, the Brazilian armed forces have defended their relations with Israel by arguing that they need the “best technology”. Forgetting for a moment any moral, political and legal doctrine, the question remains: Do the Brazilian armed forces seriously believe that the technology that has failed and continues to fail in its objective of monitoring a 365 km2 strip (more or less the size of Belo Horizonte) without forests or mountains, is it indispensable in the objective of securing Brazilian territory and borders?

A genocide that involves the total destruction of a territory, the eviction and extreme hunger of the entire population, more than 37 dead so far, is not a success. Faced with the military defeat of the Israeli army and technology against an armed group, completely isolated from the world for 000 years, any soldier who preaches cooperation and exchange of experiences and practices with this genocidal army is not only morally and politically deplorable and incites Brazil to participate in international crimes, he is intellectually dishonest.

Brazilian oil: fueling genocide

In research commissioned by Oil Change International and published in March 2024, it is reported that Brazil, in February 2024, was the third most important exporter of crude oil to Israeli refineries, which direct the fuel to supply tanks, planes and other military vehicles.

The majority of crude oil from Israeli refineries is made up of oil from the Caspian Sea region – specifically, crude oil from Azerbaijan piped through the Baku–Tbilisi–Ceyhan pipeline and crude oil from Kazakhstan and Russia that travels through the Pipeline Consortium.

Caspian. With Turkey's decision to ban oil exports to Israel, supplies from Brazil become even more fundamental to the Israeli colonialist project, as both Caspian Sea routes pass through Turkey.

Research into the “Our Class” movement of oil workers in Rio de Janeiro denounced in April 2024 that “more than two months of all the oil consumed in Israel, to move its colonial occupation troops and who expel and kill Palestinians, is made by Petrobrás. Almost 30% of all Brazilian exports made to Israel are made by Petrobrás. In other words, a stroke of the pen from the company's former president, PT senator Jean Paul Prates, would break this flow”. Perhaps with the new director of Petrobras, Magda Chambriard, this stroke will be possible.

O Custom code of Conduct of Petrobras declares that “It is the duty of Petrobras to respect, raise awareness, prevent violations and promote human rights in its activities and act in accordance with human rights protected by international treaties and conventions, in addition to repairing possible losses or harm resulting from damage caused under its responsibility to the people or communities impacted by its activities, with maximum agility.”

However, for now, Israel is the tenth largest recipient of Petrobras in general and, in the case of crude oil, the ninth, with an exported value between 2019-2023 in oil of US$1.103.249.068,20. While this is an important contribution to the sustainability of Israel's apartheid and genocide, Petrobras accounts for 0.23% of its sales.

The Data Desk detected the export of more than two shipments of 260.000 tons delivered to Israel since October 13th from fields jointly owned by Shell and Petrobras.

Shipments from Brazil were made via tankers that turned off their AIS transponders in the Port Said STS area, Egypt, before arriving in Israel. Data Desk provided evidence detailed of delivering crude oil to the Europe Asia Pipeline Company (EAPC) terminal south of Ashkelon, from which pipelines supply the Haifa and Ashdod refineries. Both refineries are crucial for providing fuel to Israel's military.

The origin of the oil is from the Pre-Salt area of ​​the following production fields: Berbigão (130 thousand tons) and Tupi (43,33 thousand), Iracema do Norte (43,33 thousand) and Sapinhoá (43,33 thousand). All of these fields are operated by Petrobrás, which has the majority stake, forming a consortium with Shell, Repsol Sinopec and Galp, among others.

According to research by Left DiaryIn addition to these production areas, throughout 2023, crude oil produced in the Búzios field, owned by Petrobrás, was sold to Israel. Other ports used in the last five years to export oil to Israel are Porto de Santos (SP), the Açu terminal (RJ) was used; São Sebastião Oil Terminal -TEBAR (SP) and Petrobras Ilha Conceição Terminal (RJ). Once unloaded at the Israeli port, the oil reaches refineries in Ashdod or Haifa.

The Ashdod refinery, which was spun off from the Paz group in October 2023, produced 262.000 tons of aviation fuel between January and June 2023, 11% of its total production. According to report financial of the fourth quarter of 2023 of Grupo Paz, its subsidiary, Paz Aviation Services maintains an active contract to fuel aircraft at seven military air bases in Israel, which appears to cover most of it of the heritage of the Israeli Air Force.

The Bazan Group, owner of the Haifa refinery, is proud to “provide continuous energy to vehicles, the armed forces and the entire energy economy”. Haifa refinery supplies fuel to gas stations Delek e Sleepiness. The Israeli military is authorized to supply their vehicles at any of the approximately 400 gas stations in Delek and Sonol, under a contract to 2021.

Data Desk has revealed crude oil deliveries from the Berbigão, Sapinhoa, Tupi, Iracema Norte, Iracema Sul and Búzios fields in 2023 and 2024.

In addition to fueling the Israeli colonial project in Palestine, oil exports also fuel neo-colonial exploration in Brazil. The vice-president of the Petrobrás Engineers Association, Felipe Coutinho says: “Brazil is being subjected to colonial-type exploitation, after the cycles of Brazilwood, sugar, gold, silver and diamonds, coffee, rubber and

cocoa, it is the turn of the extractive and primary cycle for exporting Brazilian oil”.

The Mercosur – Israel FTA: freely illegal trade

Another measure that Brazil would have a duty to take is, finally, to suspend the Mercosur-Israel Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which, since the day it came into force, has been in violation of its own rules.

The ALC recalls the history of the resolution on the partition of Palestine in the United Nations that diplomat Oswaldo Aranha, as president of the General Assembly, promoted. They promised the Palestinian people, in exchange for the loss of 58% of their ancestral territory, the granting of a state in 42% of the remaining territory. But that never happened.

In the same way, in exchange for favoring the Israeli economy, supporting its apartheid regime, Brazilian diplomacy included a clause in the Agreement that would exclude products from Israeli settlements that are expanding illegally in the occupied West Bank. But that never happened.

On December 18, 2007, the FTA was signed in Montevideo and on September 11, 2009, the Brazilian Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Relations and National Defense recommended the non-ratification of the FTA between Mercosur and the State of Israel until “Israel accepts the creation of the Palestinian state on the 1967 borders.”

Regrettably, on December 17, 2009, the National Congress ratified the text of the ALC, as per the Decree Legislative No. 936 introducing the interpretative clause in Art.2:

“Art. 2nd The National Congress approves the text of the Free Trade Agreement between Mercosur and the State of Israel, signed in Montevideo, on December 18, 2007, on the understanding that Brazil will negotiate, within the scope of the Joint Committee established by Chapter IX of the said legal document, the exclusion from the coverage of the Agreement of goods whose certificates of origin indicate, as origin, places submitted to the administration of Israel from 1967 onwards”.

On April 28, 2010, the Mercosur-Israel FTA enters em force. On May 3, 2010, the SECEX ordinance nº 08, providing for certification of origin within the scope of this Agreement: “Further verifications of Certificates of Origin will be conducted randomly or whenever the Secretariat of Foreign Trade and/or the Brazilian customs authorities have reasonable doubts about the authenticity of such documents, the status of origin of the products in question or compliance with the other requirements of Chapter IV of the Free Trade Agreement between Mercosur and the State of Israel.”

In June 2010, Argentina, as Pro Tempore Presidency of Mercosur, sent a Note Verbale to the Israeli Foreign Ministry with a view to communicating the bloc's position that the coverage of the agreement did not extend to territories occupied by Israel since 1967. In April 2012 , at the first Meeting of the Joint Committee of the Mercosur-Israel FTA, Mercosur partners indicated their intention to negotiate the establishment of a mechanism that allows the precise identification of the origin of products.

In October 2013, the Brazilian Network for the Integration of Peoples and the Palestine Stop the Wall Campaign sent a letter to Itamaraty and the Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC), contesting the entry, into Brazil, of partially or fully produced products in illegal settlements.

Itamaraty clarified that no measures would be taken at that time and that “The current understanding of the Brazilian government is that, as a result of negotiations with Israel, there will be better operational conditions for taking specific supervisory measures, including in relation to cases such as those highlighted in the correspondence from REBRIP and Stop the Wall.” MDIC responded through DEINT: “In response to your request, we inform you that the issue addressed by your request is regulated by the guidelines of Decree 936/2009. However, in respect and deference to the legitimate interest of the citizen, we clarify that the adoption of specific supervisory measures will be the responsibility of the Federal Revenue of Brazil, which will promote them as soon as the negotiations referred to in the Decree in question are finalized”.

Ten years have passed and in 2023, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the PSol leadership in the Chamber of Deputies that the III Meeting of the Joint Committee has not yet been scheduled and that they are still waiting for the conclusion of negotiations. According to the Ministry, Brazil and other members of MERCOSUR will once again demand the discussion of the implementation of Article 2 of Legislative Decree No. 936 only at this meeting.

Now it's time to cancel the Free Trade Agreement and not just exclude products from the contract's settlements. As international Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and the biggest experts in the area has defended, the products of Israeli settlements are illegal, as is the trade with these products since it assists and helps the colonization and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

*Maren Mantovani She is the coordinator of international relations for the Palestinian Popular Campaign against the Apartheid Wall (Stop the Wall) and is part of the international secretariat of the national committee on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS).).

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