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Venezuela holds Israel responsible for escalation in Gaza

October 9, 2023 at 10:52 am

President of Venezuela Nicolas Maduro, on 29 September 2023 [NicolasMaduro/Twitter]

Venezuela holds Israel responsible for the latest military escalation between the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, and the occupation state. The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has expressed its deep concern about the evolution of recent events in the Gaza Strip that have resulted in hundreds of people being killed and thousands more wounded by Israel’s “self-defence” Operation Swords of Iron against the besieged Gaza Strip. Dozens of residential buildings have been destroyed in the Israeli bombardment, and the UN has put the number of internally displaced Palestinians at 123,500.

Venezuela said that the escalation is a result of the Palestinian people finding it impossible to find a space internationally to assert their legitimate rights.

“The government of Venezuela holds Israel responsible for the current escalation of violence as a result of its continuous violations of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and the systematic provocations against their sacred sites,” said the government in Caracas. “We call upon the international community to adopt urgent measures to force Israel to stop its flagrant violations of international law, compel it to respect the resolutions of international legitimacy and the historical rights of the Palestinian people and prevent these events that are used as a pretext to light the fire of a new and unequal war against Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”

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In its statement, the government reiterated its firm position on the international recognition of the Palestinian State as a historic and legitimate claim of its people. “We also call for compliance with the Charter of the United Nations and resolution number 2334 of the Security Council, which requires Israel to put an ‘immediate and complete’ end to all settlement and occupation activities in the Palestinian territory as the only way to achieve peace.”

Venezuela has again taken the lead in condemning Israeli aggression against Gaza. During the 2021 Israeli military offensive, President Nicolas Maduro was adamant that his government “vigorously condemns the unfair and disproportionate military response by the illegal state of Israel against the heroic Palestinian people.” After the 2008-9 bombardment of Gaza, the then Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez severed diplomatic ties with Israel, expelled the Israeli ambassador and his staff and closed the embassy in Caracas.

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Under both Chavez (1999-2013) and Maduro (2013-present), Venezuela has expressed strong solidarity with the Palestinian cause. It was the first country in Latin America to recognise the State of Palestine on the 1967 nominal borders. In 2009, Venezuela and the Palestinian Authority established diplomatic relations and announced the opening of a Palestinian Embassy in Caracas. Diplomatic ties remain close, and Venezuela has supported the Palestinian cause at the UN.

Palestine and Venezuela have also established economic ties, including oil deals, emergency aid and scholarships for Palestinian medical students. Venezuela was the first country to grant free travel and movement to the Palestinians without visas, and grants residence rights to Palestinians.

Around 15,000 Palestinians live in Venezuela, most of them in Valencia and Caracas. Despite the challenges they have faced with the differences in language, culture and customs, they have been able to integrate with Venezuelan society while preserving Palestinian culture.

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The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.