Chavez Expels Israeli Ambassador after Gaza Massacres

After many Arab leaders failed in taking a real action to protest the ongoing Israeli massacres in the Gaza Strip that has killed over 660 Palestinians till now, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez took the initiative and ordered the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador to Caracas as calls mounted in Latin America for an end to the Israeli aggression.

Lawmakers in Ecuador accused Israel of crimes against humanity, while Colombia and Guatemala urged an immediate ceasefire for the Israeli offensive in the Strip.

“Venezuela has decided to expel Israel’s Ambassador” Shlomo Cohen, “and some of the staff at the Israeli Embassy, restating its call for peace and respect for international law,” the Venezuelan foreign ministry said in a statement.

The expulsion came as the UN Security Council resumed debate on prospects for a ceasefire in Gaza amid frantic diplomatic efforts to persuade Israel to end the onslaught.

Venezuela accused Israel of “flagrant violations of international law” and having “planned to use state terrorism” against the Palestinian people. “In this tragic and outrageous hour, the people of Venezuela show their unlimited solidarity with the heroic Palestinian people,” the statement added.

Venezuela had already condemned Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip and President Chavez on Monday referred to them as “genocide” and called the attacks a Palestinian “holocaust. Chavez also accused the US government of supporting the offensive.

Shortly before announcing the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador, Caracas said it would set up joint air support, with Arab and Muslim communities and other Latin American countries, to deliver medicine and food to Palestinians in Gaza.

In response to the expulsion of its ambassador to Caracas, an Israeli foreign ministry spokesman said on Wednesday that Israel is expelling Venezuela’s charge d’affaires. “We obviously will take retaliatory measures and will expel the Venezuelan charge d’affaires in Tel Aviv.”

The charge d’affaires is Venezuela’s top diplomat to the Zionist entity.

Meanwhile, Ecuador lawmakers condemned Israel’s military offensive and called for a global probe of alleged “crimes against humanity.”

The commission, which replaces Congress until the next general election in April after a new Constitution is adopted, said it passed a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire and expressed solidarity with the Palestinian people.

“The world is horrified by the Israeli military offensive against the Palestinian people,” it said. “A large number of the victims are women and children, which raises the issue of state-sponsored terrorism and (constitutes) a crime against humanity,” the resolution said.

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