PNGO applauds Venezuela’s decision to withdraw ambassador from Israel

Palestinian children attend a solidarity demonstration in the West Bank city of Ramallah, 14 August 2006. (MaanImages/Fadi Arouri)

The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO) applauds the decision of the Venezuelan people and government to withdraw the Venezuelan ambassador from Israel. On August 3, 2006, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez stated that he has withdrawn his country’s ambassador from Israel to show his ‘indignation’ over the military offensive in Lebanon.

Chavez stated, “It really causes indignation to see how the state of Israel continues bombing, killing … with all of the power they have, with the support of the United States” regarding the Israeli assault on Lebanon. He also added, “It’s also fascism what Israeli is doing to the Palestinian people … terrorism and fascism.” Since the Israeli assault on Lebanon, codename ‘Operation Just Reward’ on July 13, 2006, 1,020 people have been killed, 3,508 injured, and over 960,000 displaced, in addition to the destruction of 62 bridges. In Gaza, since the beginning of the Israeli ‘Operation Summer Rains’ on June 28, 2006, 184 Palestinians, including 42 children, have been killed, 650 Palestinians injured, and over 3,500 Palestinians have sought shelter in UNRWA installations as a result of this operation.

We highly appreciate and support the courageous position of Mr. Chavez, who was among the very few leaders in the world who took action to express his country’s indignation to the violations committed by Israel against innocent civilians in Palestine and Lebanon. The Venezuelan stance shows that such actions are imperative to force Israel to respect sovereignty of nations and support for the international consensus for the protection of civilians and against the belligerence against other countries. In standing for justice and morality, this courage deserves administration in light of the prevailing callous value system where ‘might is right.’

Israel has to realize that its belligerence and violations of international law will lead to its isolation and infringement from the community of nations.

President Chavez is the first leader of a country to recall his country’s ambassador from Israel since the Israel assault on Lebanese civilians and infrastructure.

Members of the international community have time and again condemned Israeli actions in the occupied Palestinian territories and Lebanon. On July 23, 2006 the United Nations relief coordinator Jan Egeland condemned the devastation caused by Israeli air strikes in Beirut describing it as ‘horrific’ and terming it ‘a violation of humanitarian law’. On May 8, 2002 the United Nations General Assembly condemned Israeli attacks on Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank. Israel’s response to these condemnations is quite simply to ignore them. From 1955-1992, 66 United Nations resolutions against Israel were passed. Yet, no action has been taken by members of the international community to enforce these resolutions.

Not only has the US government provided Israel with the weapons, including illegal phosphorous and cluster bombs, with which it is now bombarding Lebanon, it has also provided virtually unlimited financial, military, political and diplomatic support to Israel. The wanton support of the United States to Israel has and will continue wars of destruction against people and nations.

Israel’s impunity for its crimes against humanity, its violations of international law, its attacks on Arab nations and its massacres of civilians must come to an end. Again, on behalf of PNGO we applaud and commend the actions of the Venezuelan people and government and call upon the internal community, including the Arab countries to follow the lead of Mr. Chavez.

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