[QODLink]
Americas
Venezuela expels Israeli ambassador
Hugo Chavez describes Gaza offensive as Palestinian "holocaust".
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2009 00:19 GMT
Hundreds of Palestinians have been killed in
the Israeli offensive [AFP]

Venezuela has expelled the Israeli ambassador to protest against the country's assault on Gaza, after the Venezuelan president described it as a "holocaust".

The move on Tuesday came hours after 40 Palestinians were killed at a UN school where civilians had taken shelter amid the offensive.

"The Holocaust, that is what is happening right now in Gaza," Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, said in televised comments.

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

At least 660 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel began its offensive on December 27, in what it says is an attempt to halt Palestinian rocketfire from Gaza.

'State terrorism'

Venezuela'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. 

On Monday, Chavez, a strong critic of Israel and the US, had accused Washington of poisoning Yasser Arafat, the late former Palestinian president, to destabilise the Middle East and justify US-backed Israeli incursions.

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

On Tuesday, the White House said it would support an "immediate" ceasefire in Gaza but only if it was likely to be "durable".

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Referendum on Scottish independence is the first major election in the UK where 16 and 17-year olds get a vote.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Farmers worry about their future as buyers shun local produce and rivers show an elevated presence of heavy metals.
War-torn neighbour is an uncertain haven for refugees fleeing Pakistan's Balochistan, where locals seek independence.
NSA whistleblower Snowden and journalist Greenwald accuse Wellington of mass spying on New Zealanders.
join our mailing list