Representatives from Venezuela accused Israel of war crimes against Palestinians at an informal meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Oct. 14.
The meeting, held under a frank and private discourse process known as the Arria formula, discussed whether West Bank settlements are standing in the way of peace. In comments regarding a resolution for the Israeli settlements, Venezuela’s Ambassador to the U.N. Rafael Ramirez said acts of violence on both sides of the conflict are a “double standard” in favor of Israel.
“We say we reject any terrorist acts but we are using that argument to establish an equivalency between the disproportionate violence of Israel against the Palestinian people and the isolated acts of violent reactions of the Palestinian people against Israel,” Ramirez stated before the council. “There is an endless list of human rights violations that the Palestinian people are victims of and we are convinced that Israel has committed war crimes against Palestinians that have to be investigated and punished.”
Israel’s Ambassador to the U.N. Danny Danon responded sharply to Ramirez’s remarks, saying the Venezuelan ambassador’s statements are “hypocritical and laced with anti-Israel hatred,” The Jerusalem Post reports.
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“Nothing is more ludicrous than accusing Israel of war crimes. Our record on behalf of human rights and democracy speaks for itself,” Danon said. “We do not accept hypocritical criticism from countries whose own record on human rights can only be described as horrendous.”
Ramirez had been previously condemned for anti-Semitic statements made to the U.N. in May 2016, when he asked if Israel would perpetrate a "final solution" against the Palestinian people like the Nazis in World War II, United With Israel reports. Danon and the Israeli Mission worked with U.N. officials to condemn the "racist" and "crass" behavior, for which Ramirez offered a partial apology to the Jewish people “if they were offended by the remarks.”
In his most recent statement to the U.N., Ramirez also blamed the U.S. for “maintaining a permanent blockade” on the issue of settlements in the Security Council, The Jerusalem Post reports.
“We believe time has come for this Security Council to do something specific and concrete,” the Venezuelan ambassador said. “Time come to set aside any group pressure, lobbies and national positions to be able to resolve this matter.”