Brazilian president places wreath on Arafat’s tomb

RAMALLAH, West Bank — Brazil’s president placed a wreath on the tomb
of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat on Wednesday and sharply
criticized Israeli policies, leading Israeli officials to suggest he was
not being evenhanded.

Making the first visit by any sitting
Brazilian president to Israel and the Palestinian territories, President
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has termed the trip amission of peace.” The
visit appears aimed at helping Brazil emerge as a bigger player in
foreign affairs.

Brazil could play a bridging role: the country is
Israel’s largest trading partner in Latin America, but also has close
ties to Iran, Israel’s archenemy. Silva has been a defender of Iran’s
nuclear ambitions, which Israel sees as a potentially grave threat.

laid a yellow and green wreath on Arafat’s mausoleum on Wednesday,
following protocol for visiting leaders. The visit came a day after
Israel’s hawkish foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, said he boycotted
meetings with Silva because the Brazilian did not pay a similar visit to
the grave of Zionist founder Theodor Herzl.

The mayor of the West
Bank city of Ramallah draped an iconic Palestinian black-and-white
checkered scarf on the shoulders of the Brazilian president, who told a
crowd of Palestinian officials and several dozen people waving Brazil’s
flag that he had p… >>>

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