Amid genocide of Rohingya Muslims, Israel continues to arm Myanmar’s junta: Report

Srinagar

As the genocide of Rohingya Muslims continues in Myanmar, the Israeli government continues supplying weapons to the regime, an opinion piece carried by Haaretz said today. 

“Despite what is known at this point from the report of the United Nations envoy to the country and a report by Harvard University researchers that said the commission of crimes of this kind is continuing, the Israeli government persists in supplying weapons to the regime there,” the opinion piece authored by John Brown said.

One of the heads of the junta, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, visited Israel in September 2015 on a “shopping trip” of Israeli military manufacturers, the author wrote, adding that his delegation met with President Reuven Rivlin as well as military officials including the army’s chief of staff and visited military bases and defense contractors Elbit Systems and Elta Systems.

“The head of the Defense Ministry’s International Defense Cooperation Directorate — better known by its Hebrew acronym, SIBAT — is Michel Ben-Baruch, who went to Myanmar in the summer of 2015. In the course of the visit, which attracted little media coverage, the heads of the junta disclosed that they purchased Super Dvora patrol boats from Israel, and there was talk of additional purchases.

In August 2016, images were posted on the website of TAR Ideal Concepts, an Israeli company that specializes in providing military training and equipment, showing training with Israeli-made Corner Shot rifles, along with the statement that Myanmar had begun operational use of the weapons. The website said the company was headed by former Israel Police Commissioner Shlomo Aharonishki. Currently the site makes no specific reference to Myanmar, referring only more generally to Asia,” the author said.

He also said that Israel’s High Court of Justice is scheduled to hear, in late September, a petition from human rights activists against the continued arms sales to Myanmar.

In a preliminary response issued in March, the Defense Ministry argued that the court has no standing in the matter, which it called “clearly diplomatic,” the author said.

On June 5, in answer to a parliamentary question by Knesset member Tamar Zandberg on weapons sales to Myanmar, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that Israel “subordinates [itself] to the entire enlightened world, that is the Western states, and first of all the United States, the largest arms exporter. We subordinate ourselves to them and maintain the same policy,” the author quoted the Minister as saying.

“He (the Minister) said the Knesset plenum may not be the appropriate forum for a detailed discussion of the matter and reiterated that Israel complies with ‘all the accepted guidelines in the enlightened world'”, the author quoted him as saying.

“Lieberman statement was incorrect. The United States and the European Union have imposed an arms embargo on Myanmar. It’s unclear whether the cause was ignorance, and Lieberman is not fully informed about Israel’s arms exports (even though he must approve them), or an attempt at whitewashing.

In terms of history, as well, Lieberman’s claim is incorrect. Israel supported war crimes in Argentina, for example, even when the country was under a U.S. embargo, and it armed the Serbian forces committing massacres in Bosnia despite a United Nations embargo.”

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