Israel blamed for arming Myanmar amid Rohingya Muslims atrocities

MAMOSA Report — Human rights groups criticized Israel for the continued sale of weaponry to the Myanmar junta amid intensified violence against Rohingya Muslims, local media reported on Saturday.

Israeli soldiers maneuver a tank during a military exercise in the northern part of the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on September 7, 2017.

More than 100 tanks as well as boats and light weapons have been sold to the Myanmar government by Israeli arms companies, investigations by several human rights watchdogs have found, according to MENA news agency.

One company, TAR Ideal Concepts, has also trained Myanmar special forces in northern Rakhine state, where much of the violence is taking place against the Rohingyas, posting pictures on their website of its staff teaching combat tactics and how to handle weapons.

There is a U.S. and EU embargo on selling arms to Myanmar, which was under military rule for decades.

Israel’s high court will decide on whether to ban arms sales to the country later this month after a petition by Israeli activists.

The Israeli defense ministry defended arms sales to Myanmar, saying the courts had no jurisdiction over a “diplomatic” issue, the report said.

Meanwhile, thousands of people took to the streets in cities across Asia Friday and Saturday to denounce Myanmar’s treatment of its Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority.

At least 270,000 Rohingya have fled northern Myanmar into Bangladesh in the past two weeks, according to the United Nations refugee agency, roughly a third of all Rohingya living in the predominantly Buddhist country. More than 1,000 people have been killed in the violence, the UN estimates.

Political and Islamic groups, along with other civil society organizations, joined protests in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka Friday to urge Myanmar to “stop committing genocide” and take back those who have sought refuge elsewhere.

Placards and banners criticized Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Protests also took place in Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, India and Pakistan.

In a statement Friday, US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley urged Myanmar to implement the Annan commission’s recommendations.

Washington “remains deeply troubled by continued reports of attacks against innocent civilians and will continue to urge Burmese security forces to respect those civilians as it conducts security operations,” the statement said.

US President Donald Trump is monitoring the situation, a spokeswoman said.

In a related note, Pakistan’s Foreign Secretary Tehmina Janjua met Myanmar Ambassador U Win Myint on Saturday to convey the country’s vehement protest against the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims.

The foreign office had summoned Myint to register its protest.

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