In an exclusive interview with TV Brasil 247, Hamas International Committee member Basem Naim expressed the terrorist organization’s support for former President Lula da Silva in his potential 2022 presidential candidacy for the far-left Workers’ Party.
Naim, who has served as the Palestinian Authority’s Minister of Sports and Minister of Health, said Hamas appreciates Brazilian support for the Palestinian cause. “It started years ago and, in particular, during Lula’s presidency, it was a great and vigorous support for our cause.”
He added that since then a close friendship with Lula began and that at that time the Brazilian leadership was committed to the freedom and dignity of the Palestinian people and the liberation of Palestine.
The member of the terrorist organization also recalled his concern since the arrival of Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency of Brazil. “We were really shocked when this shift took place towards the extreme right.”
“It was shocking for us,” he added, “because for years we have seen how Brazil is a big and central country in Latin America and we know its importance in leading other countries in the political arena.”
For the Hamas leader, it was not a simple shift to the right. He said that the arrival of Jair Bolsonaro made Brazil support and embrace the American position on the issue and also “the Israeli narrative completely.” In his view, President Bolsonaro “did not respect international law and legitimacy.”
Hamas was very happy when Lula was released by Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court, allowing him another chance to run for the presidency. “We look forward to the days when we will see Brazil again supporting Palestine and the Palestinian struggle for freedom and dignity,” Naim said.
Lula, friend of Hamas
In 2010, Lula da Silva recognized Palestine as a state, a month before he left the presidency. Ibraim Al-Zeben, who was then Palestinian ambassador to Brazil, received the news with pleasant surprise.
“One always expects good friends and lovers of peace and justice to do something good. The Palestinians are very grateful for this support, because it will also be positive for achieving peace with Israel,” Al-Zeben said in 2010.
“President Lula’s visit to Palestine was also very important, because we managed to sign six agreements, in areas such as health, sports, education and agriculture,” increasing the Palestinian presence in the South American country.
For Ibraím Al-Zeben ambassador at the time, Lula was a great ally because Brazil will always play an important role in the international arena, especially in the Palestinian issue.