HAARETZ: THE SALE OF WEAPONS TO AZERBAIJANI GOVERNMENT IS LIKE THE SALE OF WEAPONS TO NAZI GERMANY DURING WORLD WAR II
by Tatevik Shahunyan
Monday, October 27, 15:38
Israel-based Haaretz newspaper has published an article by Professor
Yair Auron who blames Tel-Aviv for sale of arms to Azerbaijan.
The sale of weapons to a government committing genocide is like the
sale of weapons to Nazi Germany during World War II, Professor Yair
Auron writes in his article published by Haaretz.
“In light of the increased manifestations of hatred in Azerbaijan
against the Armenians, Azerbaijan’s increasing military strength
and the rise in internal tensions there, it is feared that if
war breaks out again between Azerbaijan and the Armenians in the
enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, there will be massacres against the
Armenian population in that contested region. And yet, despite the
handwriting on the wall, last month Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon
flew to Azerbaijan to meet with the heads of its military and state,
including the president,” the author writes.
Further, the author writes about the Karabakh people’s fight for
survival. “As far as the Armenians are concerned, the conflict with
the Azeris is a fight for survival, a fight for their right to live
in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Next year will mark 100 years since
the genocide against the Armenian people. An Azeri assault, if one
takes place, could be a sorrowful reminder of the events of those days.
“But perhaps it is not too late to prevent escalation. Israel has a
moral obligation in this matter, beyond its international obligations.
It would be very serious if it turned out that Azerbaijan’s security
forces committed war crimes and crimes against humanity using Israeli
weapons,” the paper writes.
“During my visit to Armenia last May, to receive a prize from the
Armenian president, I was told about the tension in Nagorno-Karabakh,
which is mostly populated by Armenians (as a result of the imperialist
policies of the Soviet Union).
This tension is the result of the six-year war in the region between
the Armenian inhabitants and Azerbaijan, during which some 30,000
people were killed and hundreds of thousands were forced to leave their
homes. The Armenians, who were fighting for their homes, were able
to overcome the Azeri army, which was much stronger than they were,
and were able to maintain control of the region. In 1994, a fragile,
Russian- brokered cease-fire was arranged.
However, 20 years later, international efforts to urge the Armenians
and Azeris to an agreed-on solution have been unsuccessful. On my
visit to Armenia, I heard the Armenian complaints about escalation
in the region and about war crimes committed by Azerbaijan.
I was also told about breaches of the cease-fire agreement by
Azerbaijan just recently, and about Israel’s involvement in the
conflict. It seems that the Azeris are trying to goad the Armenians
into responding to breaches of the agreement, so the Azeris will
have an ostensible reason to take over the enclave. In early August,
Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev visited the front and told the
soldiers, “We have weapons we have purchased from foreign sources,
which meet the highest standards in the world.” Russia and many
other countries, among them the United States and France, have
condemned the escalation, and said that the only solution to the
conflict is diplomatic. With the outbreak of the war, in 1992, the
Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe asked its member
states to ban export of weapons to those involved in the conflict in
Ngorno-Karabakh. Britain and Germany prohibit the export of weapons to
Azerbaijan and, as far as we know, the United States does not permit
the export of weapons to that country over concerns that it could
be used against Armenia. According to reports in the foreign press,
in recent years Israel is one of the leading exporters of weapons to
Azerbaijan – if not the primary one.
Together with Russia, Israel is openly ignoring the weapons embargo.
In February 2012, foreign media outlets and Haaretz reported that
Israel signed an agreement to supply $1.6 billion-worth of weapons to
Azerbaijan. At least two Israeli drones have fallen in Ngorno-Karabakh,
the latest one this past August. This is not the first time Israel
has supplied weapons to a country that is committing genocide. Israel
sold weapons to the Serbs during the Balkan war in the early 1990s,
during which time the United Nations had imposed an embargo.
Israel must refrain from such acts also because we are a people of
Holocaust survivors. A tragic crime and humanitarian disaster could
take place in the centennial year of the Armenian genocide, which
continues to go unrecognized by most countries.
In mid-August, attorney Eitay Mack and I submitted an urgent request
to Dubi Lavi, the head of the department in the Defense Ministry
that monitors weapons exports, to stop Israel’s weapons sales to
Azerbaijan. We demanded that he use his authority to revoke or delay
permits that the Defense Ministry has given for such sales, at least
until the end of the current escalation. We received an answer that
hardly heralds change: “We have closely examined the statements in
your letter. Security export is carefully examined : considerations
of human rights and conflict zones worldwide are seriously weighed.”
The writer and Eitay Mack are working to make public the sales of
Israeli weapons to countries who commit war crimes and crimes against
humanity,” the paper writes.