CARACAS -- The Venezuelan government announced Wednesday that it was "breaking diplomatic relations (with Israel) in the face of the seriousness of the atrocities against the Palestinian people," just days after Caracas expelled the Jewish state's ambassador and hours after Bolivia broke ties with Tel Aviv.
In a communique released by the Foreign Ministry, the government of President Hugo Chavez said that it will insist "before the international community that the crimes against humanity committed by (Israel's) leaders be denounced before the International Criminal Court."
The move by Caracas came after the announcement earlier on Wednesday by the Bolivian government that La Paz was breaking diplomatic ties with Israel as an act of solidarity with Palestinians suffering from Tel Aviv's current offensive in the Gaza strip.
"Bolivia had diplomatic relations with Israel, but in the face of of these acts of grave attacks against life, against humanity, Bolivia breaks diplomatic relations with Israel," Bolivian President Evo Morales said during a reception for the diplomatic corps at the presidential palace.
"The crimes of the government of Israel damage stability and global peace and have brought the world back to the worst stage of crimes against humanity that have not been seen except during World War II and, in recent years, in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda," Morales said in statements cited by the official ABI news agency.
Launched Dec. 27, the Israeli campaign in Gaza has left more than 900 Palestinians dead and 4,600 wounded. The United Nations estimates that half of the dead are women and children.
Tel Aviv says the aim is stopping Hamas militants from firing rockets at southern Israel.
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