CARACAS, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Tuesday called Israel’s offensive in Gaza a Palestinian "holocaust" and said the presidents of Israel and the United States should be tried in international court.
"The Holocaust, that is what is happening right now in Gaza," Chavez said in televised comments. "The president of Israel at this moment should be taken to the International Criminal Court together with the President of the United States."
The socialist Chavez, a harsh critic of Israel and the United States, on Monday had accused Washington of poisoning the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to destabilize the Middle East and justify U.S.-backed Israeli incursions.
Israel is under international pressure to reach a cease-fire with Hamas militants and halt an offensive that has killed nearly 600 Palestinians, including more than 40 in a U.N. school sheltering civilians.
The United States, which Chavez describes as a decadent empire, firmly backs Israel — its principal ally in the region. (Reporting by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by David Storey)