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PA supports Venezuelan president Maduro, condemns US for “supporting coup attempt”
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PA supports Venezuelan president Maduro, condemns US for “supporting coup attempt”
  • Deputy Secretary-General of DFLP: “The Palestinian and Venezuelan peoples face the same enemy - which is the US”
by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

While European leaders have given Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro an ultimatum that unless he holds democratic elections they will recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate leader, the Palestinian Authority is emphasizing its support for Maduro.

Maduro won the presidential elections in May 2018, but the election was determined to be fraudulent and many countries have not recognized his presidency. Nevertheless, Maduro embarked on his second term, enjoying the support of Russia, China, Mexico, Syria, Iran, and Turkey, while the US, Canada, the EU, Israel, and some countries in Latin America back the leadership of Guaidó. Guaidó proclaimed himself acting president last week, but Maduro has refused to step down. Meanwhile, Venezuelans continue to suffer under food and medicine shortages and dozens have been killed in nationwide protests against Maduro and his government.

Palestinian Media Watch has found that the PA has unequivocally put itself behind the corrupt Maduro in direct opposition to the US, Canada, the EU and others. The following are some examples of the PA’s support for Maduro’s presidency in Venezuela:

PA Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad Al-Malki participated in Maduro’s inauguration ceremony and also brought Maduro congratulations from PA Chairman Abbas:

“Al-Malki congratulated President Maduro on receiving the presidency, wished him success in his service of the Venezuelan people, and conveyed to him the congratulations and wishes of [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership that always stands by Venezuela and its people, as Palestine does not forget its friends."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 12, 2019]

The PA Foreign Ministry emphasized that it considers Maduro "legally elected" and “condemned several states” for their “interference” and “support of the coup attempt” against him:

“The PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its concern given the events taking place in Venezuela, and condemned several states’ interference in the state’s internal affairs and direct [interference] through support for the coup attempt against legally elected President Maduro.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 25, 2019]

PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani used the Venezuelan crisis to attack the US, claiming its “interference” in Venezuela’s affairs is yet another example of the US policy to want to “usurp the will of the peoples.” Stressing Maduro’s “legitimacy,” Majdalani condemned the “coup attempt” against him:

“The blatant American interference in states' affairs, as is happening in Venezuela, is a direct continuation of the policy of [US President Donald] Trump’s administration, whose goal is to usurp the will of the peoples... The principle of states' sovereignty and non-interference in their internal affairs is a democratic diplomatic norm, and the coup attempt against the legitimacy of elected [Venezuelan] President Nicolás Maduro is worthy of condemnation..."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 25, 2018]

Similarly, Head of the Latin America Department in the Fatah Movement Commission of International Relations Muhammad Oudeh expressed to Venezuelan Ambassador to “Palestine,” Maher Taha, Fatah’s position regarding “the coup attempt,” and “its condemnation of the interference of some states in its internal affairs and direct [interference] through support of the coup attempt.” [Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 25, 2019]

The Palestinian National and Islamic Forces organized a solidarity vigil in which dozens of protesters expressed support for Maduro outside the Venezuelan delegation in Ramallah. At the vigil, Deputy Secretary-General of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine Qais Abd Al-Karim stated that the US is “the enemy” of both the Palestinians and Venezuela:

“The Palestinian and Venezuelan peoples face the same enemy - which is the US.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 25, 2019]

He also stressed the Palestinian support for Maduro’s “democracy”:

“Our people stands by Venezuela and its defense of democracy in face of the coup sponsored by the US.”

An op-ed in the official PA daily last year ripping into US President Trump’s speech at the opening meeting of the UN General Assembly’s 73rd session on Sept. 25, 2018 accused Trump of calling for a military coup in Venezuela and falsely claimed he had announced that he would attack the country. In his speech, Trump announced additional sanctions on Venezuelan President Maduro’s regime given the humanitarian crisis there. He did not mention a military coup:

“The new cowboy (i.e., US President Donald Trump) blatantly threatened a sovereign state - Venezuela - and its president. He announced that his administration will attack [Venezuelan] President Nicolás Maduro (sic.), and unequivocally incited the army to carry out a coup against a president who was legally elected (sic). He also attacked socialism as if his capitalist system is in better shape...”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 27, 2018]

The following are longer excerpts of the reports cited above:

Headline: "Al-Malki participated in the inauguration ceremony of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro"
"[PA] Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riyad Al-Malki participated in the inauguration ceremony of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros, who was reelected in May 2018 for a second term for the period between 2019 and 2025 (the 2018 election was determined to be fraudulent and internationally Venezuela is considered to be without a president since Jan. 10, 2019, when Maduro’s legitimate term ended -Ed.).
Al-Malki congratulated President Maduro on receiving the presidency, wished him success in his service of the Venezuelan people, and conveyed to him the congratulations and wishes of [PA President] Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian leadership that always stands by Venezuela and its people, as Palestine does not forget its friends."
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 12, 2019]

“The PA Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates expressed its concern given the events taking place in Venezuela, and condemned several states’ interference in the state’s internal affairs and direct [interference] through support for the coup attempt against legally elected [Venezuelan] President [Nicolás] Maduro (sic., Maduro's reelection in 2018 is not recognized by most of the international community, the US and others have encouraged support for the opposition leader; see note below -Ed.).
The ministry said in a statement that was published on Wednesday evening [Jan. 23, 2019]: ‘The State of Palestine again emphasizes its position that supports respecting the sovereignty of states and their internal governments, and also emphasizes its solidarity with the legitimate aspirations of Venezuela to increase stability, unity, and prosperity through comprehensive peaceful national dialogue in the framework of a regional and international bloc that will respect international law, the UN convention, and peaceful coexistence between states.’”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 25, 2019]

Headline: "Ramallah: A vigil of solidarity with Venezuela against the failed coup attempt"
"Dozens of citizens participated yesterday [Jan. 24, 2019] in a solidarity vigil before the Venezuela Delegation in Ramallah in protest against the failed coup attempt against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro (Maduro's reelection in 2018 is not recognized by most of the international community, and the US and others have encouraged support for the opposition leader; see note below -Ed.), and blamed the US for sponsoring this coup.
The participants in the vigil, which was organized by the [Palestinian] National and Islamic Forces, waved slogans that condemn the coup attempt, support President Maduro, and express appreciation for Venezuela’s positions in favor of our people. They also again voiced calls of anger and condemnation over the interference of the US and its president, Donald Trump, in the internal affairs of some states.
Head of the Latin America Department in the Fatah Movement Commission of International Relations Muhammad Oudeh conveyed a statement to Venezuelan Ambassador in Palestine Maher Taha, in which he expressed the [Fatah] Movement’s position regarding the coup attempt, its concern in light of the events taking place in Venezuela, and its condemnation of the interference of some states in its internal affairs and direct [interference] through support of the coup attempt.
Oudeh again emphasized the movement’s position that supports respecting the sovereignty of states and their internal governments, and emphasized its solidarity with Venezuela’s legitimate aspirations to increase stability, unity, and prosperity through comprehensive peaceful national dialogue, in the framework of a regional and international bloc that will respect international law, the UN convention, and peaceful coexistence between states.’ [...]
As part of the [Palestinian] National [and Islamic] Forces’ speech, Deputy Secretary-General of the Democratic Front [for the Liberation of Palestine] Qais Abd Al-Karim said: ‘Our people stands by Venezuela and its defense of democracy in face of the coup sponsored by the US.’
He noted that this coup is one of the shameful methods of the Trump administration’s interference in Venezuela’s internal affairs and the American imposition of imperialism on the world.
He said: ‘The Palestinian and Venezuelan peoples face the same enemy - which is the US, which is attempting to eliminate the Palestinian cause by announcing what is called "the deal of the century" (i.e. referring to US President Trump’s as yet unpublished Middle East peace plan),' and emphasized that our people will stand against all of these attempts.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 25, 2019]

Venezuelan crisis 2018-2019 - Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro won a second term in the Venezuelan presidential election in May 2018; however, the election was determined to be fraudulent and Venezuela has been considered to be without a president by most of the international community since Jan. 10, 2019, when Nicolás Maduro’s legitimate term ended. Maduro nevertheless has continued as president, supported by countries like Russia, China, Mexico, Syria, Iran, and Turkey. The US, Canada, the EU, and others have condemned this and encouraged support for Venezuela's opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the country’s legitimate president. Guaidó proclaimed himself ”acting president” on Jan. 23, 2019, but Maduro has refused to step down. The countries supporting Guaidó have been accused by Russia and others of fomenting a coup. Dozens have been killed in protests against Maduro and his government, and the people are suffering under food and medicine shortages.

"Secretary-General of the [Palestinian] Popular Struggle Front and PLO Executive Committee member Ahmed Majdalani... said in a statement [at a meeting with the ambassadors of Morocco and Tunisia]: 'The blatant American interference in states' affairs, as is happening in Venezuela, is a direct continuation of the policy of [US President Donald] Trump’s administration, whose goal is to usurp the will of the peoples.'
He added that the principle of states' sovereignty and non-interference in their internal affairs is a democratic diplomatic norm, and that the coup attempt against the legitimacy of elected [Venezuelan] President Nicolás Maduro (Maduro's reelection in 2018 is not recognized by most of the international community, and the US and others have encouraged support for the opposition leader; see note below -Ed.) is worthy of condemnation, at a time when the entire world is calling for freedom and democracy, while the Trump administration is acting with 'political arrogance.' Majdalani continued: 'We are the greatest victims of the policy of the Trump administration, which has proven to the entire world that it does not protect human rights or democracy, but rather is acting as if it is the world's policeman that wants to impose agendas, take over peoples' resources, and steal their freedom.'"
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 25, 2018]

Ahmed Majdalani also holds the position of head of the PLO Department of Labor and Planning.

Excerpt of an op-ed by Omar Hilmi Al-Ghoul, regular columnist for the official PA daily
Headline: “The bully Trump’s speech”
“[US] President Donald Trump gave his speech two days ago [Sept. 25, 2018] at the opening meeting of the UN General Assembly’s 73rd session. If only he had not talked and not addressed the leaders of the states and nations, because it would have been more appropriate and dignified for the US if the populist and arrogant real estate man had been silent. Perhaps the most inflaming moment in his speech was the praise that he gave himself and his administration, when he claimed that his administration had recorded achievements that no other American administration had recorded in the past (sic., Trump said it “has accomplished more than almost any administration”). This forced the listeners to deviate from custom. They broke into laughter due to the ugly American’s claims, because they all know with certainty that the Trump administration is the worst administration in the history of the UN in terms of functioning and honoring the international institutions’ conventions, laws, and agreements. What is more, it is the most bullying administration in the modern history of America, since the establishment of the UN 73 years ago, because it has worked and is working to crush the UN and harm its image, and it is persecuting the UN, its institutions, and its international organizations that are connected to human rights (apparently refers to US withdrawing from UN Human Rights Council in June 2018 citing its anti-Israeli bias, and later cutting funding to UNRWA; see note below -Ed.)...
In addition to this, in the same speech the new cowboy blatantly threatened a sovereign state - Venezuela - and its president. He announced that his administration will attack [Venezuelan] President Nicolás Maduro (sic., he announced additional sanctions on Maduro’s regime given the humanitarian crisis there), and unequivocally incited the army to carry out a coup against a president who was legally elected (sic., Trump did not call for a military coup). He also attacked socialism as if his capitalist system is in better shape...
Regarding the Palestinian cause and the peace process, anyone who listened to Trump’s speech noticed that the man acts like a gang boss and like a highway bandit, and at the same time, like a terrified man who is afraid of Israel and its allies...
He declared that the US is an empire and the leader of the world, as if he was sending the following message to all of the central bodies in the world: ‘The US is your master, your leader, and your source of authority. You have no choice but to submit to its will!’ (sic., Trump said exactly the opposite; see note below) This satanic and arrogant spirit is what was contained in the populist Trump’s speech.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Sept. 27, 2018]

Regarding the article’s claim that US President Donald Trump essentially demanded that the world submit to American rule in his speech - no such statement was made and in fact the opposite was emphasized. Trump said: “America will always choose independence and cooperation over global governance, control, and domination. I honor the right of every nation in this room to pursue its own customs, beliefs, and traditions. The United States will not tell you how to live or work or worship. We only ask that you honor our sovereignty in return.” Regarding the Middle East in particular, he said: “Ultimately, it is up to the nations of the region to decide what kind of future they want for themselves and their children.”

US President Donald Trump's administration announced on Aug. 31, 2018 that it was immediately cutting all $360 million of annual American funding to UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). Explaining the decision, the US State Department said, "The fundamental business model and fiscal practices that have marked UNRWA for years - tied to UNRWA’s endlessly and exponentially expanding community of entitled beneficiaries - is simply unsustainable and has been in crisis mode for many years. The United States will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation."
The move came after the US froze two planned payments to UNRWA in early January 2018 for more than $100 million, and the US administration spoke about the need to reexamine and conduct a reform of the UN body. This occurred after the PA refused to negotiate with Israel and cut diplomatic ties with America following US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital on Dec. 6, 2017.
 


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