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Lula Advocates Unity of Palestinian Groups to Achieve Peace in Middle East


Brasília — Since the beginning of his trip to the Middle East, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has said that the unity of two Palestinian groups Hamas and Fatah is essential to the achievement of peace in the region.

Today (17 March 2010), after meeting with President of the Palestinian National Authority Mahmoud Abbas, Lula said that “Brazil must be willing to talk with anyone, with anyone who is important at the negotiating table, with anyone who has influence, so that people can reach a peace accord in the Middle East,” in response to a question about whether he would be willing to talk with Hamas, an Islamic group, who controls the Gaza Strip.

On the crisis of the Israel-US relations, which began after the announcement, on the part of Israel, that it would build 1,600 houses in East Jerusalem, Lula believes that this impasses can, ultimately, be helpful.  “Sometimes, impossible things happen.  What seemed impossible happened: the United States differs with Israel.  Who knows if this difference isn’t the hitherto missing magical key to the achievement of a peace accord.”

In his speech, the president said that the blockade of the Gaza Strip by Israel cannot continue and that “the separation wall must come down.”  “The world no longer supports this kind of wall,” declared Lula.  Again, he criticized the building of settlements in Palestinian territories.  “The expansion of settlements, too, must stop, or else it will definitely extinguish the flame of hope.”

In the West Bank, occupied Palestinian territory, Lula visited Mukataa, the seat of Palestinian government, where the tomb of Yasser Arafat, the father of the Palestinian national movement, is located.  There he laid flowers on his grave.

In the city of Ramallah, in the West Bank, a street was named after Brazil today.  Brazilians and Arabs who have lived in Brazil also participated in the inauguration, carrying banners and placards that read: “Brazil and Palestine — Friends Forever.”

After that, Lula visited Jordan, one of the countries that have received Palestinian refugees.  Besides Egypt, it is the only Arab country that has signed a peace accord with Israel.  The president was received by Abdullah II bin al-Hussein and Queen Rania.

Tomorrow (18 March 2010), President Lula will meet the Jordanian senators and Prime Minister Samir Rifai.  He will also attend a Brazil-Jordan business seminar.

The original article “Lula defende união de grupos palestinos para alcance da paz no Oriente Médio” was published by Agência Brasil on 17 March 2010.  Translation by Yoshie Furuhashi (@yoshiefuruhashi | yoshie.furuhashi [at]

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