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Venezuelans Demonstrate in Solidarity with Palestine

Punto Fijo, November 22nd, 2012 ( – More than 150 people gathered in the capital Caracas on Wednesday to show support for the Palestinian people, while the Venezuelan National Assembly approved a measure condemning the recent Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip.

A proposal presented to Venezuela’s legislative body yesterday by United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) representative Fernando Soto Rojas was debated on the assembly floor before a formal condemnation received majority approval.

The majority pro-government bloc in the parliament, comprised of the PSUV and the Venezuelan Communist Party (PCV), voted in favor of the declaration, along with some members of the opposition bloc.  

Soto Rojas recalled the recent history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and described Palestinian resistance as “heroic”, while other PSUV representatives denounced the Israeli policies that they claimed have converted Gaza into “the largest open-aired prison in the world.”

In the plaza Bolivar in Caracas, a large group of Venezuelans and activist organizations gathered to support the Palestinian people and to demand an international blockade of Israel.

“The Palestinian people have been resisting for 64 years. There are more than six million Palestinians that cannot return to their territory,” said Hindu Anderi. “That is why we are calling for an economic, political, and cultural blockade against Israel.”

Members of Venezuela’s Arab community were present to express their support of the Chavez government’s stance on the conflict, and to bring attention to the plight of the Palestinians

“We are here to support the liberty of the Palestinian people,” said two young Venezuelans of Palestinian heritage. “We can’t go [to Palestine] to visit our families because the Israeli’s do not allow it. They don’t want us to go back. People who leave Palestine cannot return. They violate our human rights, and treat us like animals.”

Others called on the United Nations to give Palestine statehood status and for Israel to respect the resolutions of the UN General Assembly.

“We call on Israel to respect the agreements of the United Nations, to stop the attacks and to recognize Palestine as an independent state,” said Venezuelan diplomat to Asia and the Middle East, David Velásquez.

“We hope that on November 29th the General Assembly of the United Nations will approve the statehood [of Palestine]. Though it will not have the full rights of a state, it will allow it to strengthen its presence in the international community,” he said.

Many celebrated the recent ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, but others were skeptical that it would make a difference. 158 Palestinians and 6 Israelis were killed during the conflict's latest round of violence.

“We don’t believe that what has been a systematic policy since 1947 of expansion and occupation of territory, of displacing the Palestinian people, will be changed by this recent agreement,” said Velasquez.

The Venezuelan National Assembly agreed to support Palestine’s entry as a state into the United Nations, and to back any resolutions that will put an end to Israel’s attacks.

Published on Nov 22nd 2012 at 10.07pm