Israeli and Brazilian Presidents Shimon Peres and Luíz I. Lula Da Silva.

It is clear that, as of now, Brazil intends to exercise all the prerogatives that come with its rank of emerging superpower. Accordingly, Brasilia aspires to become an actor on the Middle East stage in the same way as the Quartet member countries. Lula considers that he could step in as a neutral broker on the strength of Brazil’s absence of a colonial involvement in the region, its good relations with the all parties to the conflict as well as its lack of economic interest in the short term.

He drew the spotlight by refusing to visit the tomb of Theodore Herzl, the founder of Zionism, which earned him the esteem of the Palestinians and a rebuff by Israeli Foreig Minister, Avigdor Liberman. However, he laid a wreath at the Yad Vashem memorial, a visit which he qualified as "an obligation for every chief of State".
He thus endorsed the myth according to which the State of Israel was not instituted by the Christian Zionists after they got Herzl to embrace their cause, but by the victors of the Second World War as reparation for the Nazi crimes.

Mr. Lula da Silva was received at the Knesset where Netanyahu took the floor first by delivering an introductory speech. He recalled the historic fragmentation of Jerusalem Est and confirmed the construction of 1 600 new homes for Jews only. Then, he urged Brazil to join common efforts to prevent the Islamic Republic of Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. In his reponse, the Brazilian President glossed over the issue of the occupied territories, chalking it up to profits and losses. He continued by criticizing Israel’s tactics in trying to force Iran to give up its nuclear military programme and pointed out that Latin America and the Caribbean form a nuclear-free zone. Such firmness was no doubt meant to be appreciated as a measure of Brazil’s independence vis-à-vis Israel.
However, the Brazilian President did little else than to replicate the already worn scenario of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction: Tel-Aviv puts out an accusation which is notoriously flawed, then enters a supposedly neutral bit player to discuss the modalities of the sanctions, and the stage is set to justify a military aggression further down the road. His warnings against isolating Iran enabled Lula to more easily spread the deceptive propaganda that Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb.

In Bethlehem, Mr. Lula da Silva was joined by Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in a forum of Palestinian and Brazilian business enterprise managers for the economic development of the occupied territories, boosting his image as a pragmatic leader at the service of peace.
The truth is that the Brazilian President was simply applying Benjamin Netanyahu’s formula for an "economic peace" with the Fatah faction in the West Bank (as opposed to war against the Hamas electorate in the Gaza Strip). He showered a bunch of nice words on the Palestinians, but signed concrete agreements with the Israelis opening the doors to the Mercosur markets.

At the end of the day, there is nothing to prove that Brazil is actually positioning itself as a Middle-East peace negotiator - even though it could play a supportive role in legitimizing Fayyad’s puppet government and in propping up the accusations against Iran. The fact remains that Mr. Lula da Silva is in line for Ban Ki-Moon’s succession as U.N. Secretary-General and that this trip marked the opening of his electoral campaign.