Israel Continues to Sell Weapons to Myanmar despite Ethnic Cleansing Reports

  • Our Bureau
  • 01:40 PM, September 29, 2017
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Israel Continues to Sell Weapons to Myanmar despite Ethnic Cleansing Reports
Israeli cornershot, a weapon the army is selling to Myanmar (Image: Middle East Monitor)

Israel has been criticized by rights advocates calling for the nation to end sale of weapons and training to Myanmar and other conflict zones after evidence cropped up from  social media public posts by Myanmar General and certain Israeli companies.

The Facebook posts by Myanmar army Chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing showed him visiting Israeli military bases and signing agreements in addition to visits by officials from Israeli firms, Eitay Mack, a lawyer who filed the petition was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency Thursday.

“We know many places in the world where there’s Israeli arms and training, but we don’t know the details. Both Israel and the country importing the arms and training hides it,” said Mack.

“What’s different is the head of the army exposed a little [on Facebook] and also the company,” he added.

He said there were also posts showing Myanmar troops training with the Israeli corner-shot rifle -- which allows soldiers to shoot around corners -- and a visit by Brigadier-General Mishel Ben Baruch, who heads the Israeli Defense Ministry's arms-export division and who Mack described as “a very secretive guy”.

“It's not a private company that is selling on their own mind [i.e., on its own initiative]; it's the policy of the State of Israel. All Israeli companies need to get a license [to sell] from the Ministry of Defense,” he said. 

Mack said one of the deals Hlaing had revealed was the purchase of Dvora attack boats, which, he said, had also been used in alleged war crimes by the Sri Lankan military at the end of the decades-long civil war with separatist Tamil Tigers in 2009.

According to Mack, Israel legally only has to comply with UN Security Council embargoes, which are rarely agreed to because of the veto right.

In Myanmar's case, the veto right is used by China and is the reason why -- while the EU and U.S. do not sell arms to Myanmar according to their own policy -- Israel can continue to do so. 

Although the case being presented by Mack is being heard in an open court and is using publicly available information, the Israeli state, which had argued the sales were a diplomatic affair that the court should not intervene in, requested that the case be placed under a gag order.

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