Israel is under fire from human rights groups for continuing to sell weapons to the Burmese junta after intensified violence against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.
More than 100 tanks along with boats and light weapons, have already been sold to the Burmese government by Israeli arms companies, investigations by several rights watchdogs have found.
One company, TAR Ideal Concepts, in addition has trained Burmese special forces in northern Rakhine state, where a lot of the violence is occurring, posting images on the internet site of its staff teaching combat tactics and how to deal with weapons.
An army crackdown brought about by an attack on 25 August by Rohingya insurgents on Burma security forces has triggered a significant humanitarian crisis. At least 400 folks have been killed and almost 125,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh.
There’s a US and EU embargo on trying to sell arms towards the south East Asian country, that has been until recently under military rule. Israel’s high court will determine whether to ban arms sales to the nation later this month after having a petition by Israeli acitivists.
In March, the Israeli defence ministry defended sales, saying that the courts had no jurisdiction over a “diplomatic” issue.
“Successive Israeli governments have been selling arms to the military dictatorship in Burma for years,” Ofer Neiman, an Israeli human rights activist, told Middle East Eye.
“This policy is strongly related to Israel’s oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people. Weapons used against the Palestinians are being sold as ‘field-tested’ to some of the worst regimes on the planet.”
Graphic photo and video from the location show beheaded children and entire villages burnt to the ground by military and paramilitary forces.
The violence has been condemned by the international community; Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan labelled it a “genocide” a week ago.