June 11, 2010
Venezuela condemns attack

President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, has firmly condemned what he calls “the brutal massacre committed by the State of Israel against the members of the Freedom Flotilla.”{{more}}

The Freedom Flotilla was organized by the Free Gaza Movement, a Cyprus-based human rights group, and the pro-Palestinian Turkish organization Insani Yardim Vakfi. The flotilla of six ships – three passenger and three cargo vessels, left Cyprus on Sunday, May 30, carrying more than 10,000 tons of aid and about 600 passengers from more than 20 countries, the movement said.

The flotilla aimed to run Israel’s three-year blockade of Gaza on May 31, before a pre-dawn raid against the convoy by Israeli commandos left nine activists dead.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that the loss of life was “regrettable”.

Netanyahu said that Israel had to defend itself against Hamas terrorists and “prevent weapons and war material from coming in to Gaza.”

Chávez, on behalf of his government and the Venezuelan people, in a press release, stated his profound sorrow, and expressed his most heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of “the heroes who have been the victims of this State crime,” and committed himself to honouring their memory and to offering the necessary help so that those responsible for these murders are severely punished.

The release, dated May 31, 2010, said the “Revolutionary Government of Venezuela will continue to denounce the terrorist and criminal nature of the Israeli government, as it reiterates today more than ever, its unshakeable commitment to the struggle of the Palestinian people for freedom, national sovereignty and dignity.”