The weeks-long assault left more than 1,300 Palestinians dead and prompted Chavez to break off relations with Israel.

Al-Maliki also praised Chavez as "the most popular leader in the Arab world", in part for his staunch support of Palestinians.

Maduro said that the Palestinian cause was "like our own".

Growing tensions

Venezuelan-Palestinian relations have become closer as tensions have grown between Chavez's government and Israel.

Caracas expelled Israeli diplomats in January to protest against the Gaza offensive, and Israel responded by dismissing Venezuelan envoys.

In 2006, Chavez withdrew Venezuela's envoy to Israel to protest against the war on Lebanon.

Al-Maliki said the Palestinian embassy inaugurated in Caracas on Monday would be one of 10 such missions in Latin America.