FM pushes back against reports of Israeli arms sales to Myanmar

The Al Jazeera web site published a story titled "Israel maintains robust arms trade with rogue regimes" Monday.

October 24, 2017 04:59
1 minute read.
Buddhist monks walk past soldiers in the town of Lashio in Myanmar.

Buddhist monks walk apst soldier Myanmar 370. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Facing a slew of highly critical reports of alleged Israeli arms sales to Myanmar, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement Monday that “vigorously denies false reports disseminated in the media regarding its alleged involvement in the tragedy in the Rakhine region of Myanmar.”

Haaretz reported on Monday that “Israel sold advanced weapons to Myanmar during its anti-Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing campaign,” and the Al Jazeera web site published a story titled “Israel maintains robust arms trade with rogue regimes.”

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According to the Haaretz report, Israel sold Dvora patrols boats to the country and that these were part of a larger deal signed between the two countries. The delivery of the boats, the report said, came even as the Myanmar Army was being accused of war crimes against the Rohingya Muslim minority.

The ministry statement said the policy of “supervising Israel’s defense exports is reviewed regularly according to various criteria, including the human rights situation in the target country, as well as the policy of the UN Security Council and other international bodies.”

In late September, the High Court of Justice issued a gag order on a decision it handed down regarding a petition to halt Israeli arms sales to Myanmar.

Human rights groups are accusing Myanmar of ethnic cleansing and human rights violations – including arson, rape and massacres – after violence broke out in the northwestern state of Rakhine, triggering an exodus of some 400,000 Rohingya Muslims to southern Bangladesh.

According to the data base of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which monitors arms sales, the patrol boats Israel sold to Myanmar were purchased in 2015 and were the only weaponry Israel has sold to the country since 2007.

China is the country’s main weapons supplier, selling 70% of the arms Myanmar buys, followed by Russia which sells the country 19% and Belarus, which provides some 4.5 %, meaning those three countries sell Myanmar 93.5% of its weapons.

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