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01/09/2017 - 16:20hs

Mahmoud Abbas presents Arab Chamber with artwork

The president of Palestine sent a picture by a local artist to the organization on occasion of the launch of its new headquarters. Ambassador Ibrahim Alzeben handed over the artwork to Rubens Hannun.

São Paulo – The Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce received this Friday (1) an artwork sent by Palestine’s president Mahmoud Abbas. A picture of Jerusalem by Palestinian painter Yasser Khaldy was handed over by the ambassador of Palestine in Brazil, Ibrahim Alzeben, to the president of the Arab Chamber, Rubens Hannun.

Isaura Daniel/ANBA

Alzeben: Jerusalem is the heart of monotheism

The gift was sent to mark the launch of the Chamber’s new headquarters last April. The new facilities take up two floors of building Santa Catarina, on Paulista Avenue, and were designed by architect Ruy Othake. The ambassador’s visit was his first to the new headquarters. Besides Hannun, Alzeben was welcomed by CEO Michel Alaby.

“This is a token of our thoughtfulness, gratitude and considerateness for the role this Chamber has played for 65 years now, building bridges for cooperation and representing in a dignified way the true image of the Arab man, a good man, a working man, a man who’s productive and who sets good examples for humanity,” Alzeben told ANBA.

The picture is made of ceramic and the choice to depict Jerusalem is a symbolic one. “Jerusalem is the heart of Palestine, of humanity, of monotheism. Jerusalem represents the unity of monotheists, fundamentally the Christians and Muslims who have coexisted over the centuries in this new city,” said Alzeben.

The ambassador said high-level Palestinian officials may visit Brazil this year. The diplomat is expecting president Abbas to attend the official launch of the Palestinian embassy’s headquarters in Brasília. He was the one who laid the foundation stone for the embassy in December 2010, alongside the then-undersecretary for the Middle East and Africa at the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, Paulo Cordeiro. The embassy relocated to its new space in February 2016.

Alzeben claims he hopes Brazil will overcome the problems it faces, so that it may also pay high-level visits to Palestine. “We trust Brazil and its democracy, the Brazilian sociopolitical framework. Brazil is an unconditionally friendly country to us,” the ambassador said to ANBA.

Isaura Daniel/ANBA

Ambassador had a meeting at the Arab Brazilian Chamber

At the Arab Chamber offices, Alzeben – who’s also the dean of the Council of Arab Ambassadors in Brazil – discussed other aspects of the Council and the Chamber’s work schedule during a meeting with Hannun and Alaby. The Council will go on a mission to the state of Pernambuco along with the Council of Arab Ambassadors.

The ambassador said he’s glad he’s officially visiting the Arab Chamber on Eid Al-Adha, the date of Muslims’ sacrifice feast, marking prophet Abraham’s (known to Arabs as Ibrahim) willingness to sacrifice his son as per the will of God. Religious history has it that upon witnessing Abraham’s obedience, God told him to sacrifice a ram instead. The date also marks the end of Hajj, the great Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca.

According to Alzeben, Palestine and Brazil are in great standing, with friendship and cooperation at a good level. He relates that his country’s economy is enduring a complicated situation due to the Israeli occupation. However, Palestine welcomes lots of Brazilian tourists and can contribute important goods to international markets, like olives, olive oil, marble and granite. “We hope the state of Palestine will be free, independent and sovereign so it can cooperate and engage in trade more,” the ambassador said.

*Translated by Gabriel Pomerancblum

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