Under the rule of President Hugo Chávez who was elected President of Venezuela in 1998, relations between Israel and Venezuela rapidly deteriorated as Venezuela strongly supported the rights of the Palestinians and condemned Israeli actions, twice expelling the Israeli ambassador to Venezuela (2006, during the 2006 Lebanon War, and 2009, in response to the 2008-2009 Gaza War). Venezuela officially recognized the State of Palestine and established diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority on 27 April 2009.
During the 2006 Israel-Lebanon conflict between Israel and Hezbollah Chávez expelled the Israeli ambassador to Venezuela and downgraded economic and military accords between Venezuela and Israel. Chávez also compared Israel's actions to Hitler and the Nazis. During a visit to both Russia and China in 2006 Chavez called for Israeli leaders to be tried in the International Criminal Court. Chávez's speeches and verbal attacks against Israel had earned him praise throughout the entire Arab World. Since then Venezuela has strengthened its ties with Russia, China, Cuba and Iran in order to counter the support that Israel receives from the United States.
With the 2008-2009 Gaza War, Venezuela cut off all diplomatic ties with Israel and expelled the Israeli ambassador from Caracas. After breaking diplomatic relations with Israel in January 2009 in protest at the invasion, Venezuela's Foreign Ministry said in September 2009 it would depend on Spain to represent its interests in Israel. Israel's interests in Venezuela would be represented by Canada. On 27 April 2009 Venezuela had officially recognized the State of Palestine and established diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority, being the first country in the Americas to do so. On 29 November 2012, Venezuela voted in favor of granting recognition as an observer status to Palestine at the United Nations. During 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, President Nicolás Maduro said that the government "vigorously condemns the unfair and disproportionate military response by the illegal state of Israel against the heroic Palestinian people."
- Venezuela's Support for Palestine A Model for Third World Democracy
- Associated Press, Haaretz, 16 September 2009, Venezuela: Spain will represent our interests in Israel
- Canada-Israel Committee, 5 August 2009, Canada to Help Israel with Visas in Venezuela
- Venezuelanalysis.com, 30 April 2009, Venezuela and the Palestinian Authority Establish Diplomatic Relations
- United Nations, 29 November 2012, General Assembly Votes Overwhelmingly to Accord Palestine Non-member Observer State Status in United Nations
- "World reacts to the conflict in Gaza". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 10 July 2014.