Yair Auron: Israel must not sell arms to Azerbaijan

Yair Auron: Israel must not sell arms to Azerbaijan –

PanARMENIAN.Net – 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 Nagorno Karabakh, there will be massacres against the Armenian population in that region, says a piece by professor Yair Auron in Israeli daily Haaretz.

For 25 years, prof. Auron has been researching Israel’s attitude toward the genocide of other peoples. In November 2014, the Open University will hold an international conference marking the 20th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda.

And yet, the author says, 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.

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, Auron says.

In early August, prof. Auron reminds, 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 Cooperation in Europe asked its member states to ban export of weapons to those involved in the conflict in Nagorno 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, prof. Auron says.

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, media reported that Israel signed an agreement to supply $1.6 billion-worth of weapons to Azerbaijan. At least two Israeli drones have fallen in Nagorno-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. The sale of weapons to a government committing genocide is like the sale of weapons to Nazi Germany during World War II, the Israeli professor says.

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, he concludes.

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