[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
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
Amid vote audit and horse-trading, politicians of all hues agree a compromise is needed to avoid political instability.
Part of the joint accord aimed at ending the political impasse establishes an independent National Election Commission.
Rights groups say the US prosecution of terrorism cases targets Muslims and are fraught with abuses.
Local painters forgo experimentation to cater to growing number of foreign buyers.
Cyprus is a tax haven and has long attracted wealthy Russians, but it could become a European energy hub.
join our mailing list