Monday, 7 June 2010

Israel a cursed terrorist and murderous state

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez called Israel a "genocidal state" during nationally broadcast comments following violent clashes aboard a Gaza-bound flotilla.

Chavez called Israel a "cursed terrorist and murderous state" amid shouts of “Long Live Palestine” during a June 1 speech, the day after Israeli Navy commandos boarded a Gaza-bound ship and nine people were killed in the ensuing violence. He also accused Israel of supporting the local opposition against his government.

“Israel is financing the Venezuelan opposition. There are even groups of Israeli terrorists, of the Mossad, who are after me trying to kill me,” he said.

In response, the American Jewish Committee said in a news release last Friday that the Organization of American States should condemn the comments in the “strongest possible terms.”

“These baseless accusations by President Chavez are downright dangerous and are used by him to bolster his own political standing,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.

In the same speech, Chavez sent his “greetings and respect” to the local Jewish community.

“They know they have our affection and respect," he said, adding later that "I doubt very much that a Venezuelan Jew would support such an atrocity.”

The local Jewish community has had a strained relationship with the government following a spate of attacks against Jewish houses of worship last year, including an assault against the city’s main synagogue.

Other Latin American nations closely aligned with Chavez have come out strongly against the Jewish state. Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa recalled his country’s ambassador from Tel Aviv, while Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega said he was suspending diplomatic relations between the two nations.

Venezuela ruptured its diplomatic ties with Israel last year following the war in Gaza.

Another aid vessel to arrive from Lebanon

Free Palestine Movement, Reporters without Borders say plan to send ship carrying dozens of activists, European MPs to Gaza as early as next weekend

The Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara ship and the Irish-owned Rachel Corrie ship are not alone: Two non-governmental Lebanese organizations announced Saturday that the plan to send an aid vessel of their own to the Gaza Strip as early as next weekend.

In a press conference in Beirut, the Free Palestine Movement and Reporters without Borders organization announced that the ship, which will be carrying humanitarian aid, will include passengers interested in expressing their solidarity, as well as journalists. They said they believed they would be able to "break the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip." More

Turkey suspends all infrastructure projects with Israel

Turkey announced Thursday that it was suspending all its joint government projects with Israel in the infrastructure and energy field, the country's energy minister said. The decision was taken in response to the Gaza flotilla incident, he said. "At times where we are focused on humanitarian aspects… we cannot talk about commercial and economic matters," the minister said. The projects suspended include a water initiative that was to see Israel receive water from Turkey, as well as a natural gas pipeline to Israel. However, the boycott does not include transactions involving non-governmental companies, the minister said.

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