The Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip earlier this year was perpetrated for the express purpose of killing Palestinians, says Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the Guardian reports. “The question is not whether the Israelis want to exterminate the Palestinians. They're doing it openly. What was it, if not genocide?” asked Chavez after a tour of the Middle East. “The Israelis were looking for an excuse to exterminate the Palestinians.”
Human rights groups have said both sides of the conflict may have committed wars crimes and should be investigated. The Israeli military says 1,166 Palestinians were killed; an Israeli human rights group today put the number at 1,387.