Venezuela Geological Survey Finds No Evidence of Hamas War Crimes
Caracas, Venezuela (AP) – A ten-year, government-sponsored geological study of Venezuela has turned up no evidence of war crimes by the militant Hamas organization. Hamas runs the Gaza Strip and is currently engaged in hostilities with Israel.
“This study proves conclusively who holds the moral high ground,” said President of Venezuela Hugo Chàvez. “It is high time the international community lay the blame squarely at Israel’s doorstep for whatever atrocities have taken place.”
The study, which covered nearly all of Venezuela’s 882,050 square kilometers, examined topography, climate and paleography, paying specific attention to the petroleum-rich deposits under and around Lake Maracaibo. The authors write that despite their exhaustive search, they were unable to find a single piece of evidence linking Hamas with any of the accusations leveled at the organization by Israel: that it targets civilians in rocket attacks; that it specifically launches rockets from heavily populated areas; or that it subjects its prisoners to torture.
Hamas officials welcomed the publication of the study. “The Islamic Resistance Movement has always known it is just,” said an organization spokesman, Mahmoud A-Zahar, using the organization’s full name. “We have always maintained that ours is the side of right, the side of morality, while the Zionist pig-dogs routinely commit horrifying massacres and genocide.” A-Zahar spoke by satellite phone from a bunker in a densely populated neighborhood of Rafah, a city at the Egyptian border.
A narrower maritime study sponsored by Iran in 2009 came to similar conclusions, noting that not a shred of evidence linking Hamas to rocket attacks could be found anywhere on the sea bed within thirty kilometers of the coast of the Arabian Gulf, which Iran calls the Persian Gulf. In 2010 Iran also conducted a study of precipitation patterns near the city of Meshed, and reported finding nothing that would link Hamas to a string of deadly suicide bombings in Israel between 2000 and 2003. The report authors suggested that Israeli media had fabricated those events.
Human rights organizations expressed cautious acceptance of the report. The International Solidarity Movement, which monitors Israeli military actions in the Occupied Territories, issued a statement praising the government of Venezuela for its work in advancing human rights and justice, but fell short of giving the report its unequivocal backing because it did not explore the ways in which Israel can be unfavorably compared with Nazi Germany.
Human Rights Watch also acknowledged the study but reserved judgment, saying that it found some inaccuracies in the data. “While we accept that Hamas is blameless, we wonder why the researchers did not explore the obvious and important evidence that Hezbollah is similarly innocent.” Hezbollah, a Shiite military organization that dominates large sections of Lebanon, has frequently clashed with Israel.
The researchers plan a follow-up study of Arctic Sea plankton, which cannot reach the Gaza Strip because of Israel’s naval blockade.
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