Bethlehem – Ma’an/Agencies – Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez branded Israel a murderous extension of US power on Wednesday during a visit by Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
"We know what the state of Israel stands for - a murderous arm of the Yankee empire," Chavez told joint a news conference, according to Reuters. "What the president of Israel said, we take as a threat."
Reuters also reported that Chavez and Ahmadinejad, on the last leg of a tour of three South American nations, hugged, held hands, and praised each other as fellow revolutionaries.
Chavez severed ties with Israel last year over the three-week military offensive in Gaza that killed more than 1,400 Palestinians. Chavez denounced the campaign as a genocide. Palestinians killed nine Israelis during the conflict.
The two leaders also signed a number of business and industrial projects. Ahmadinejad also visited left-leaning Brazil and Bolivia during his South American tour.
Chavez dismissed criticism of Ahmadinejad’s visit. "What do the imperialists say? That Ahmadinejad is here because we are making the atomic bomb here too," he was quoted as saying.
"They're the ones with the atomic bombs, and remember the Yankee imperialists dropped bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki," he added, referring to the US bombings of Japanese cities that ended World War II.