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Brazil militarization reproduces actions of Israel against Palestinians

Every day, Brazilian security forces invest in military training and equipment carried out by the Armed Forces and Israeli companies

Brazil militarization reproduces actions of Israel against Palestinians

Every day, Brazilian security forces invest in military training and equipment carried out by the Armed Forces and Israeli companies

Evandro Almeida Jr

São Paulo, Brazil 13/10/19

“The same weapons that kill and repress in Brazil have shed tears before in Palestine.”

Soraya Misleh’s speech, from the Front for the Defense of the Palestinian People, seeks to synthesize a reality that unites the daily life of Brazil and the Israeli-occupied territories of Palestine. Every day, Brazilian security forces invest in military training and equipment carried out by the Armed Forces and Israeli companies.

The transit of these techniques and technologies is also a big deal. In only one of these operations, the State Security Department of São Paulo invested US$ 9 million in six armored vehicles called Guardian. The production is from the Israeli company Plasan.

Brazil is the fifth-largest importer of Israeli military equipment, according to data from the International Peace Research Institute based in Stockholm.

Before arriving in the State of São Paulo, the Guardian was tested in the repression of the Palestinian population in both Gaza and the West Bank. Brazil imports a large roll of equipment from Israel — from the Guardian to non-lethal weapons. As in the control of the Palestinians in Israel, daily policing in Brazil is also military and ostensive.

“With the military ideology of the police being the same as the Army, we soon have a war against the population itself”, explains João Militão, coordinator of the Collective Construction.

“Those who buy these items, however small, like a gas grenade, also buy an ideology of what manifestations should be controlled,” says Israeli activist Sahar Vardi. For her, we live today in the midst of wars of concepts that are not over — terrorism, the drug war.

Israel justifies its actions as “combating terrorism”, but international law does not contain a definition of what would be “terrorism”. “Because of this lack of definition, states choose their own to define what terrorism is. And this goes from people who fight for freedom to people who actually commit crimes”, explains Tarciso Jardim, a specialist in international humanitarian law and Senate advisor.

Brazil

In Brazil, however, what predominates is not the “war on terrorism”, but “drugs”. The poor and mostly the black population is the biggest victim. According to the National Survey of Penitentiary Information, the prison population in Brazil is 726 thousand people. And 28% are arrested because of drug trafficking, of which 64% are black.

Data from the Brazilian Public Safety Yearbook 2018 show that Brazil invested about 1.3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in security in 2017, equivalent to R$ 84 billion. At the same time, 63,880 people died violently, an increase of nearly 3% compared to 2016. Only 4,200 people died due to civilian and military police interventions, either in service or out of service.

“Many of the deaths caused by the police come from the legitimate exercise of self-defense or from third parties. But many of the killings are extrajudicial executions, which are generally not investigated, and do not lead to accountability”, said Maria Laura Canineu, director of Human Rights Watch Brazil (HRW).

Original publish in Opera Mundi

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