SÃO PAULO—The Brazilian government has recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv and condemned what it called the "disproportionate use of force" by Israel in a military offensive in Gaza.
"We strongly condemn the disproportionate use of force by Israel in the Gaza Strip, from which large numbers of civilian casualties, including women and children, resulted," Brazil's foreign ministry said in a statement on its website late Wednesday.
"The Brazilian government considers unacceptable the escalation of violence between Israel and Palestine," it added.
The government said its ambassador from Israel was recalled for "consultations." Brazil is the second country to recall its envoy from Israel, following Ecuador's move earlier this week.
Yoel Barnea, Israel´s general consul in São Paulo, expressed disappointment at Brazil's diplomatic snub. He said Hamas has launched more than 2,000 rockets at Israel over the last 15 days, something Brazil didn't mention in its statement.
"The Israeli government is extremely disappointed as (Brazil's) statement doesn't reflect the right of a nation to defend itself," Mr. Barnea said. "Brazil is a friend, but we think its position is not balanced…It doesn't help the parties and does not contribute to progress in trying to resolve the situation."
Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying "such steps do not contribute to promote calm and stability in the region. Rather, they provide tailwind to terrorism, and naturally affect Brazil's capacity to wield influence."
Brazil's foreign ministry declined to comment on Israel's statement.
The last time Brazil recalled an ambassador was in 2012, when it recalled its envoy from Paraguay during the impeachment of Paraguay's President Fernando Lugo.
Fighting between Israel and Hamas showed no letup Thursday amid U.S. efforts to broker a cease-fire.