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Monday, 12 January 2009

Lebanon Town Honors Chavez for Expelling Israeli Envoy

A northern Lebanese town has named a street after Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez for expelling Israel's ambassador because of its onslaught on the Gaza Strip, the mayor of Bireh said on Monday.

"It's the least we can do for this great man who revived hope in our hearts and took revenge for us on the Zionist entity," Mohammed Wehbe said, adding that the move was to "honor him and raise our spirits."

The main road to Bireh, 45 kilometers (28 miles) north of the port city of Tripoli, was lined with banners reading: "The nation needs men like Chavez" and "Chavez expelled the Israeli ambassador. When will you do that, Arab rulers?"

Portraits of the Venezuelan president are plastered all over the town with a population of 17,000. "We saw Chavez kick out the Israeli ambassador and hoped Arab leaders would do the same," Wehbe said.

Chavez's portrait took centre stage at protests in the Lebanese capital Beirut last week when demonstrators raised his portrait with a slogan directed at Arab leaders that read: "This is what real men are like."

Chavez expelled Israel's ambassador to Caracas on January 6 and Israel retaliated a day later, saying it was expelling Venezuela's charge d'affaires.

Gaza Won’t Fall