דיווח: ישראל הקפיאה בחשאי את יצוא הנשק לבורמה/מיאנמר
UPDATE: After publication of this post, Yossi Melman published a story in Middle East Eye (MEE) independently confirming the information here. He wrote in MEE:
…a spokesman for Commtc [sic, “Commtact”] and Aeronautics confirmed that the company had sold equipment to Myanmar “according to Defence Ministry regulations and with its approval.” He added, however, that the Defence Ministry had recently changed its policy and suspended all licenses to all Israeli companies, including Commtac [sic], that permit dealings with Myanmar.
It’s worth noting that the ministry didn’t issue any statement in this regard and hoped to keep the move under wraps. The ministry refused to elaborate, saying only: “We don’t comment on export issues.” The secrecy is aimed at not angering Myanmar, with the hope that sooner or later the ban will be lifted and business resumed.
It can only be assumed that the suspension of Israeli sales is temporary,
It’s highly likely that Melman published this report with a foreign media outlet because Israeli censorship prohibited him from publishing it inside Israel.
After an outcry from Israeli human rights activists and 300 U.S. rabbis, who signed a letter decrying Israeli collaboration with genocide against the Burmese Rohingya, Intelligence Online reports that Israeli defense minister, Avigdor Lieberman, has quietly rescinded all export licenses for weapons sales to Burma.
Among the advanced weapons systems sold by Israel were coastal patrol vessels (pictured). Also, Israeli military consultants trained the Burmese special forces from their inception. Israeli communications equipment was installed on Chinese drones, which could easily be used to pursue the ethnic cleansing policy which has resulted in 500,000, or half the country’s total Rohingya population, being expelled from the country. China has also been charged with stealing the plans for advanced U.S. drones and either stealing or buying plans for Israeli armed drones. Such drones are among those being sold to Burma. Something that is quite disturbing to U.S. military officials.
The American UN ambassador Nikki Haley has denounced international arms sales to the junta while, of course, studiously avoiding any reference to Israel’s own role in furthering genocide.
The dark irony in all this is that Israel was born out of genocide. Yet its leaders have developed a bad case of historical amnesia. When it suits them they’re more than happy to traffic with genocidaires.
As I’ve written, there is an infamous tradition of the Zionist movement engaging in dirty commerce even with the Nazis themselves. Some of the most prominent Nazis including Heydrich and Eichmann, were early enthusiasts of Zionism (though before Hitler turned to the Final Solution of mass extermination).
Israel has not publicized its new Burma approach because it does not wish to hand the human rights NGOs, which it sees as enemies of the state, a victory. Nor does it wish to antagonize Burma’s generals, with whom it has done land-office business in supplying the lethal weapons enabling the army to repress or slaughter Burma’s opposition and its Muslim community over the years. Israel also prefers not to draw too much attention to its own sale of military drones to China, whose third-party resellers shipped them off to Burma.
The U.S. is strongly opposed to the sale of advanced Israeli military technology to the Chinese. Further, the Israelis have in the past violated U.S. law by including U.S. technology in some of its exports of weapons systems to the Chinese.
This does not mean a permanent end to Israeli arms sales to Burma. The human rights community must be vigilant in monitoring this situation as Lieberman is probably waiting for the controversy to die down so that he may turn the arms spigot back on again.
Israel is one of the six largest weapons exporters in the world and its client list includes some of the most repressive, savage regimes on earth. It helped South African develop its own nuclear weapon during the apartheid era. It’s armed the Duterte regime, which is pursuing a genocide against purported drug dealers. In Africa, it’s armed the genocidaire, Paul Kagame and performed quite a deft act in supplying both sides in the South Sudan civil war and the Eritrea-Ethiopia war.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.