Israel should not sell arms to genocidal governments, Blue and White leader Benny Gantz said Tuesday.“We must do everything not to give legitimization to racist regimes,” Gantz said at a conference. “We cannot sell weapons to regimes that commit genocide.”Gantz said that Israel is “a moral nation and a moral country, and we must behave that way in our international relations.”
The Democratic Union, Labor-Gesher and the Joint List all said ahead of September’s election that they would seek to ban arms sales to human rights violators. Democratic Union MK Tamar Zandberg and MK Ofer Cassif of the Joint List proposed bills to that effect.
Earlier this year, a diverse group, including religious-Zionist rabbis, Reform rabbis, ultra-Orthodox activists, LGBTQ campaigners and a Black Panther, banded together to call on all political parties to commit to banning Israeli arm sales to regimes abusing human rights and committing genocide.
In August, the UN charged that Israel was one of seven countries selling arms to Myanmar and should have known that they “would be used in the commission of serious crimes under international law.”
A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said at the time that Israel has not granted licenses to sell military equipment to Myanmar since 2017, when it became aware of the country’s actions against the Rohingya Muslims in the Rakhine region, including mass killings and gang rapes.
The UN already accused Myanmar’s military of ethnic cleansing in 2016. In 2018, the UN determined Myanmar’s military had “genocidal intent” in its actions against the Rohingya.
Israel also sells guns to South Sudan, which is engaged in a bloody civil war; sold armored vehicles to Cameroon, which has committed atrocities in separatist regions; and sold rifles and other firearms to the Philippines, which has engaged in extrajudicial killings and heavy-handed tactics in its brutal crackdown on the drug trade and drug users.
Israel brought in $7.5 billion in military exports in 2018.Tovah Lazaroff and Jeremy Sharon contributed to this report.