Burma: Israel refuses to stop arms sales despite increase in ethnic cleansing

‘More than 100 tanks, boats and light weapons, have been sold to the Burmese government by Israeli arms companies’

Tel Aviv: Despite allegations that the country is committing ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya Muslim minority,

Israel has refused to stop selling weapons to the military junta in Burma.

Investigations by several human rights watchdogs found more than 100 tanks, as well as boats and light weapons, have been sold to the Burmese government by Israeli arms companies in recent years.

‘In response to a petition to the High Court of Justice from activists demanding an end to Israeli arms sales, Shosh Shmueli, representing the state, said the court should not interfere in Israel’s foreign relations,’ Haaretz reported.

The Defence Ministry in March, also sounded similar when it said “The court had no standing in the clearly diplomatic matter”

Eitay Mack filed the petition to block all arms sales to the Burmese junta along with 10 other activists.

He argued that the evidence of Israeli arms sales to Burma is indisputable, as is much of the documentation of war crimes by the country’s military, the Times of Israel reported.

Taking those two factors together, he said while Israel is not violating its own laws, the sales go against international agreements Israel has agreed to uphold.

He also noted both the European Union and United States have placed arms embargoes on Burma.

It isn’t clear when Israel last sold arms to Burma, as the country does not make records of its defence exports public.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, there have been no major recorded arms sales between Israel and Burma since 2011.

Burma has been accused of committing crimes against humanity by Human Rights Watch, which called for the UN Security Council to impose sanctions and an arms embargo. The UN refugee agency has called for a redoubling of international aid for the 480,000 refugees, 60 per cent of which are children, who have fled Burma to Bangladesh to escape the violence.

A Burmese government spokesman has rejected the accusation of crimes against humanity, saying it lacked evidence.

Burma has also rejected UN accusations its forces are engaged in ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in response to coordinated attacks by Rohingya insurgents on the security forces in August.