A group of prominent Israelis, including academics, journalists, rabbis, artists, businessmen and activists, have written a letter appealing to President Isaac Herzog asking him to intervene in the humanitarian crisis unfolding in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region between Azerbaijan and Armenia, according to Armenia’s Embassy to Israel.
The Nagorno-Karabakh region is home to around 120,000 residents, most of whom are of Armenian origin.
The region has been effectively under a siege by Azerbaijan for the past eight months, making it difficult to move essential goods such as food and medicine.
"The State of Israel has close ties with Azerbaijan, which is responsible for the situation in the region, and has the ability to promote the end of this crisis. By virtue of these ties, Israel also has a moral obligation to intervene and not stand by,” the letter to President Herzog stated.
President Herzog visited Azerbaijan earlier this year and met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to discuss strengthening ties between the two countries.
Second Nagorno-Karabakh War
Azerbaijan, which borders Iran and has a Jewish population of about 20,000, maintains close strategic and economic ties with Israel.
Israel is a major exporter of arms to Azerbaijan, accounting for 69 percent of Azerbaijan’s major arms imports as of 2020, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Azerbaijani forces armed with Israeli weapons were decisive in Azerbaijan’s victory in the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War in 2020.
The armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan took place in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh and lasted 44 days.
Three ceasefires were brokered by Russia, France, and the United States but they were unsuccessful in ending the conflict. A ceasefire was successfully brokered by Russia following the capture of Shusha, the second-largest city in Nagorno-Karabakh, by Azerbaijani forces.
Despite the end to hostilities, Armenian prisoners of war were still held captive by Azerbaijan and were subjected to extreme abuse, torture, executions, and numerous human rights violations. The exact number of prisoners of war is unknown.
Nearly 2,000 Russian troops have been stationed in the Nagorno-Karabakh region as a peacekeeping force, with a mandate to remain there for five years after the end of the war.
However, Armenia claims that the Russian forces deployed in the region do not intervene or prevent human rights violations by the Azerbaijanis towards the Armenian people.