Caracas:Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced plans to set up a shelter for Palestinian children wounded and orphaned in the Israeli offensive on Gaza, and has raised the possibility of finding them adoptive parents.

The president said he had proposed to build the shelters to the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), a regional bloc created by Venezuela and Cuba, which also includes Bolivia, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Saint Vincentand the Grenadines, Santa Lucia and Antigua and Barbuda.

Maduro, who called a nationwide march Saturday in support of the Palestinian people, said the shelter in Venezuela would carry the name of deceased former president Hugo Chavez.

“I have already decided to build a foster home with the name Hugo Chavez to bring children injured in the war and who have lost their parents, who are without their mothers, who have been orphaned,” he said Thursday during a meeting of the ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV).

“We are going to bring them to Venezuela and raise them with love; and with the agreement of the Palestinian state we are going to find some of these children Venezuelan mothers and fathers,” he added.

Maduro, a strong defender of Palestine, with which he has maintained high-level bilateral relations, reiterated his condemnation of the Israeli military offensive in Gaza and called it a “war of extermination”.

“There is no war, Israel, recognised by the UN, is an occupying power which has been evicting Palestinians from their historical territory and has launched a war of extermination to evacuate Gaza and seize the Strip,” he added.

Most Latin American countries have condemned Israel’s Operation Protective Edge which has killed 1,459 Palestinians and wounded more than 8,000 since it began 25 days ago.

Five states — Chile, Peru, El Salvador, Brazil and Ecuador — have recalled their ambassadors for consultation.

Venezuela has no diplomatic ties with Israel.

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