[Editor’s Note: The following is the full text of an open letter sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Gaza to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, on January 12, 2009. The Gaza government was deposed by PA President Mahmoud Abbas in 2007. However, the elected Hamas government in Gaza considered Abbas’ decision unlawful, and continues to operate, despite the siege and the intense Israeli military onslaught, which killed, to date, nearly 1,000 Palestinians and wounded over 4,500 more. Chavez condemned the Israeli attacks and threw the Israeli Ambassador out of Caracas.]
Palestinian National Authority
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Deputy Office, Gaza
January 12, 2009
In the Name of God; the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
President Hugo Chavez,
Your Excellency, President Hugo Chavez,
We, the people of Palestine, commend your courage to speak and act upon your conscience regardless of your detractors’ criticism or cowardice.
Mr. President, we have watched death rain upon our families and children in Gaza for weeks; and yet we stand proud and ready for any outcome. We are a resilient people who wish for peace but will fight rather than bow to injustice. We live and die by the codes of our forefathers – codes of honor, integrity, truth and bravery.
Throughout history, in a just conflict, there always emerges a champion, a single hero who, by his actions, embodies all the virtues the masses aspire to. You have demonstrated that you are such a man.
We have observed your commitment to the destitute and disenfranchised since you first took office. The Americas are fortunate that your presidency has not only survived but emerged as a paradigm to be emulated. You have boldly said what the world’s masses feel – from speaking out against the sulphur of imperialism at the United Nations in 2006 through to the recent expulsion of the devil’s minion.
Mr. President, we were eager to meet you in the summer of 2007; but unfortunately yet another blockade by the Israelis, who control our ports and borders, suspended our plans. As we began the truce which we initiated, they were already planning the destruction of our infrastructure.
The Israelis slowly and deliberately began reducing the presence of journalists and denying humanitarian groups access to Gaza over the past 6 months. They reduced the number of trucks bringing supplies from several thousand to a handful each month. And since they began their bombing campaign, food and fuel are scarce. In fact, only 9 of 47 bakeries produce bread, only 5% of industrial operations function and wastewater pumping stations have shut down, flooding raw sewage into populated areas, farmland and the sea.
We do not know who among us will remain alive once this barbaric onslaught is ended. But we remain, as a people and a government, undeterred in our belief that justice will reign.
We can ask no more of you than you have already done – for you have proven that a nation cannot be cowed simply because it drives its own destiny, nor will a leader lose his throne for challenging imperialism. We salute the citizens of Venezuela for choosing President Chavez; and we commend you for being among the few leaders of this age who put people before politics.
I may not live to honor our commitment to meet you; but our people will not rest until they have sent a delegation to meet the man who put politics aside, spoke with honor and acted with courage.
Very Truly Yours,
Dr. Ahmed Yousef
Deputy of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Former Political Advisor to the Prime Minister Ismael Hanniya