Mérida, 8th August 2014 (Venezuelanalysis.com) – Venezuela is working on the legal mechanisms to be able to bring in Palestinian child refugees “as soon as possible”, while Egyptian authorities are to facilitate the delivery of Venezuelan aid to the besieged Gaza strip.
Since Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” assault on Palestine’s Gaza strip began last month, ostensibly to combat the armed Hamas organisation, over 1,800 Palestinians have been killed and almost 10,000 injured, the majority civilians. Meanwhile three Israeli civilians have been killed by rocket fire from Gaza and 64 Israeli soldiers lost their lives during a ground invasion.
Venezuela, which severed diplomatic relations with Israel in 2009 and is a strong supporter of Palestine, has joined other regional leaders in condemning Israel’s assault as a “massacre” and demanding a lasting ceasefire, negotiations, and the end of the blockade of Gaza.
Venezuelan foreign minister Elias Jaua visited Egypt this week to coordinate the South American country’s aid effort and promise of welcoming Palestinian child refugees, particularly orphans, to the South American nation until it is safe to return to their home country.
While there, Jaua said that Egyptian authorities would work to ensure that 16 tons of Venezuelan humanitarian aid – 10 from the foreign ministry and 6 from the public – would be able to reach Gaza. Venezuela has also pledged to send 242,000 barrels of oil to aid with the reconstruction of schools, hospitals, housing and utilities destroyed by the bombing.
The foreign minister of the Palestinian authority, Riad Al Malki, is also set to visit Venezuela next week to discuss aid and cooperation.
Talks with Unicef
Venezuelan representatives will talk with officials from the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) ahead of beginning legal proceedings to be able to shelter Palestinian child refugees from the conflict. Simultaneously, President Nicolas Maduro has designated a commission to evaluate where the children could stay and receive care within the country.
Jaua stated today that the intention was not to permanently relocate the children to Venezuela, explaining, “The precise objective of the Israeli leadership is to remove the Palestinians from their territory”.
“We’re going to have them [child refugees] for a time, until with other families, especially Palestinians, they can return one day to what will hopefully be a free, independent, and peaceful Palestine, which is the solution to this conflict,” the foreign minister added.
Opposition sectors “financed by Israel”
On Thursday, Elias Jaua criticised sectors of the Venezuelan opposition for questioning the decision to send aid and oil to Gaza, accusing such groups of being “financed by Israel”. According to the foreign minister, this stance exhibited “a lack of humanity and solidarity”.
The Venezuelan opposition has previously promised to reestablish relations with Israel were it to win power. In May 2012 leading opposition figure and metropolitan mayor of Caracas, Antonio Ledezma, travelled to Israel and met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
On that occasion Ledezma stated the opposition’s “willingness, under a new government presided by [then presidential candidate] Henrique Capriles Radonski, to reestablish relations with the state of Israel”.
The opposition politician added, “Don’t confuse the feelings of our people…with the irrational decisions of an administration on its way out that has strangely broken historic relations”.