Venezuela expels Israel envoy over Gaza attacks


Recasts with ambassador expulsion, adds Chavez, quote, background)

CARACAS, Jan 6 (Reuters) – Venezuela expelled the ambassador to Israel on Tuesday in protest over the offensive in Gaza only hours after leftist President Hugo Chavez called the attacks a Palestinian “holocaust.”

The socialist Chavez, a harsh critic of Israel and the United States, in recent years has frequently withdrawn Venezuela’s diplomatic envoys amid bilateral disputes and last year kicked out the U.S. ambassador over a conflict involving allied Bolivia.

The OPEC nation’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Israel’s campaign constituted “flagrant violations of International Law” and the use of “state terrorism.”

“For the reasons mentioned above, the government of Venezuela has decided to expel the Ambassador of Israel and part of the personnel of the Embassy of Israel,” the statement said.

The Israeli embassy did not respond to phone calls requesting comment.

Chavez in 2006 threatened to break ties with Israel over its military campaign in Lebanon in a war of words that led both nations to withdraw their envoys.

On Monday he accused Washington of poisoning the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to destabilize the Middle East and justify U.S.-backed Israeli incursions into Arab countries.

Israel is under international pressure to reach a ceasefire with Hamas militants and halt an offensive that has killed nearly 600 Palestinians, including more than 40 in a U.N. school sheltering civilians.

“The Holocaust, that is what is happening right now in Gaza,” Chavez said in televised comments earlier on Tuesday.

“The president of Israel at this moment should be taken to the International Criminal Court together with the President of the United States.”

The United States, which Chavez describes as a decadent empire, firmly backs Israel — its principal ally in the region.

(Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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8 Comments

  1. UK Resident says:

    Leaders of the arab countries have a lot to learn from Chavez- may Allah guide him. Allahu Akbar

  2. So sad – the only one willing to stand up to the US and Israel and do something concrete is Venezuela – while the Muslim countries meet and posture about discussing and condemning and doing effectively nothing.

    Siraaj

  3. Ipswichian by name... says:

    Salaam’Alaykum:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=213380&title=strip-maul

    Its is a sad day when our cable comedians are more truthful/balanced than our governments.

    Was-Salaam

  4. VM says:

    Alhamdulilah…

    And I agree, the Muslim countries need to do A LOT more.

  5. Ibn Muhammad says:

    salam. Last tine I checked there was no such thing as a Muslim nation. Let us keep in mind the governments of Muslim majority lands do not represent the people and as such we should not be surprised be their complacency on this matter. The governments must change to one that represents the people and then you will see action in such matters.

    salam

  6. JB says:

    It’s a sad state when Muslims must look to righteous non-Muslims for help, instead of relying on their own brethren. May Allah elevate us from this state and guide Chavez! Ameen

  7. Ipswichian by name... says:

    PS: when I mentioned our own governments: I mean Britain :)

  8. Fayza. says:

    sallam Suhaib.

    i found thsi video on youtube that you may find shocking. it is about US tax dollars being used to provide weapons for Israelis to kill palestinians! astagfirullah. may god grant them peace. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Faf_nV8nE8U

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