The PLO ambassador to Brazil, Alzeben Ibrahim, has told a group of Brazilian university students that “Israel should disappear,” according to a Portuguese-language media report (Google translation).
Brazilian journalist Reinaldo Azevedo who writes for the country’s largest magazine, Veja, reported that during the ambassador’s September 30 talk Ibrahim clarified exactly what he meant, adding:
“And this is not the ambassador of Iran or President Ahmadinejad who is speaking.”
Azevedo wrote that it was clear to him that the ambassador was not referring to Israel’s presence in the West Bank.
Thus it was evident that he did not mean Israel must disappear from the West Bank, but wiped off the map as Ahmadinejad preached.
The PLO ambassador went on to warn the students that rockets fired out of Gaza might not be the initiative of Palestinian groups.
Knowing that Hamas, which also says that Israel must disappear, will not stop shooting rockets into Israel, Alzeben said: “Israel is preparing provocations for a new conflict. Be skeptical of the origin of the next rocket departing from Palestine. ” So he is saying he has counterintelligence information where Israel is infiltrating agents into Gaza to fire missiles at Israel itself, understand?
In some ways, Ibrahim’s statement in Brazil is unsurprising, he probably thought his message would receive a sympathetic hearing. In December 2010, Brazil became the first Western country to recognise “Palestine” as a state.
Although Azevedo does not mention it, he is probably aware that Brazil’s then President, Luiz Inácio “Lula” da Silva, reportedly promised Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in 2005 that he would recognise Palestinian statehood at the end of his second term and encourage South American leaders to follow suit. (A fascinating discussion of the role played by de Silva in the Palestinian unilateral declaration of indepedence campaign features in AIJAC’s October 2011 edition of Australia/Israel Review which can be read here.)
Reassuringly, Azevedo understands that the nature of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is existential and not about borders.
By saying that “Israel must disappear,” Alzeben illuminates the nature of the “struggle” which many experts, including ours, refuse to admit.
When the Palestinian Authority refuses to recognize Israel as a “Jewish state” and wants to make the return of the so-called “refugees” this is a cause for future generations to be guided. When it cannot eliminate “that Israel” using weapons, it is dreaming to one day eliminate it via demographics.