The Islamic Post Blog


Gesture of Dignity: Hugo Chavez Blasts Israel: With Diplomatic Sanctions by Khalida
February 2, 2009, 11:05 am
Filed under: February Volume I- 2009, Latino/Caribe | Tags: ,

A strong message of condemnation for Israel’s military aggression came as Israel’s ambassador to Venezuela was expelled along with some embassy staff.  In a statement issued by Venezuela’s foreign ministry, Israel was accused of violating international law and of having planned to use state terrorism against the Palestinian population. Miami Herald reported from Adrian Bonilla, director of the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences in Ecuador, “There is a tradition in Latin America of rejecting violence to solve any international conflict.”
Ambassador Schlomo Cohen left the country on Friday, January 9th after having called the expulsion “the most difficult moment in the more than 50-year history of relations between Venezuela and Israel.” President Chavez, contrastingly, called it a “gesture of dignity”, thereby sending a message to the world that military actions which resulted in hundreds of Palestinian civilian deaths were unacceptable.  On state television, Chavez asked “How far will the barbarism go?”
Also unacceptable, as stated by UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, were Israeli attacks on UN schools which killed 46 civilians and injured at least 150, at the time of this report. In a public statement, he said, “These attacks by Israeli military forces which endanger facilities acting as places of refuge are totally unacceptable and must not be repeated” and that “a substantial number of civilians have been killed.” The statement also pointed out that “The locations of all UN facilities have been communicated to the Israeli authorities and are known to the Israeli army.” The clearly marked UN facilities were serving as safe havens for civilians seeking refuge from the violence in Gaza, according to United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) director, John Ging. The shelling was reported in The Jerusalem Post to be in response to Hamas Gunmen who used the complex to fire on Israeli targets.   Although, the UN agency insisted that there were no Hamas gunmen on the school grounds, only civilians seeking refuge.
Despite this, Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Captain Ishai David denied that the incident was caused by erroneous Israeli shelling.   David said, “We are still sticking by our official position that according to our initial inquiry, the whole thing started when terrorists fired mortar shells from the school compound”.
UN spokesman Christopher Gunness asserted that the Israeli army admitted in private briefings that militant fire came, not from the school, but from somewhere outside of the school compound.   This and other incidents caused civilian deaths and gruesome injuries including, numerous amputations. These have been the cause of international outrage echoed throughout Latin America.
Protests have taken place throughout the world, in Argentina, Bolivia, and El Salvador.  In Chile, President Michelle Bachelet called for a stop of actions from both sides, while the Chilean foreign ministry strongly condemned Israeli raids on Gaza.  The governments of Guatemala and Colombia also called on Israel to end fighting.   Brazil’s foreign policy advisor, Marco Aurelio Garcia, described the attacks as “state terrorism”, while Foreign Minister Celso Amorim called Israeli military action a “disproportional” answer to Hamas rocket attacks.  At the time of the statements’ publishing, Ten Israelis were reported to have died compared to over 1000 Palestinians killed and over 3000 injured.  Brazil subsequently sent 14 tons of food and medical aid, its Foreign ministry said.

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