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Israel’s Fingerprints Are All Over the Ethnic Cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh – Haaretz Editorial – Haaretz.com

Israel’s Fingerprints Are All Over the Ethnic Cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh – Haaretz Editorial – Haaretz.com

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Opinion | Haaretz Editorial

Editorial |

Haaretz Editorial

Sep 27, 2023

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Sep 27, 2023

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The Armenians fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh en masse still remember the first years after the Soviet Union fell apart, when their community suffered war and mass slaughter. But they also remember the more distant history of the genocide perpetrated against their countrymen by the Ottoman Empire. Consequently, they are rightly unwilling to rely on the mercy of the Azeri security services, who in recent years haven’t hesitated to attack Armenian civilians and civilian targets and commit war crimes in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Paid by the office of attorney Rakefet Shfaim

Armenians protesting against Israel's arming of Azerbaijan in front of the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, October 22, 2020.
Armenians protesting against Israel’s arming of Azerbaijan in front of the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, October 22, 2020. Credit: Emil Salman

The Armenians fleeing Nagorno-Karabakh en masse still remember the first years after the Soviet Union fell apart, when their community suffered war and mass slaughter. But they also remember the more distant history of the genocide perpetrated against their countrymen by the Ottoman Empire. Consequently, they are rightly unwilling to rely on the mercy of the Azeri security services, who in recent years haven’t hesitated to attack Armenian civilians and civilian targets and commit war crimes in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Starting in the second decade of the 21st century, Israel has been helping Azerbaijan commit war crimes and defeat the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh. Israel has a strategic relationship with the Azeris that includes arms deals worth billions of dollars, stemming from both Israel’s war against Iran and the fact that it buys a significant portion of the oil it needs from Azerbaijan.

In the past, security ties between the two countries remained discreet. But in recent years, Azerbaijan has proudly displayed advanced Israeli weaponry, including missiles and suicide drones, in its military parades. It has also revealed that a factory that produces Israeli suicide drones exists on Azeri soil, and it has once again released official videos in which its forces are seen using Israeli weapons.

On March 6, Haaretz reported that over the past seven years, 92 Azeri cargo planes landed at the Ovda airbase – the only airfield from which explosives can be exported. In addition, an Israeli suicide drone has been documented attacking an antitank battery in Armenia itself (Haaretz, March 15, 2021). Haaretz also reported that Azeri journalists and opposition activists have been targeted for surveillance with NSO’s Pegasus spyware (May 25, 2023).

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in Davos, Switzerland, 2018.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev in Davos, Switzerland, 2018.Credit: Amos Ben Gershom / GPO

Throughout this period, Israel hasn’t just supplied Azerbaijan with arms. It has also helped it distort history. During legal proceedings in 2020, the Foreign Ministry admitted that Israel’s refusal to recognize the Armenian genocide – which it defines merely as a “tragedy” – stems in part from its relationship with the Azeri government. At the same time, Israel is also assisting Azerbaijan’s campaign for international recognition of the “Khojaly genocide,” which the Armenians allegedly perpetrated against the Azeris. Admittedly, there are conflicting stories about what happened in the battle of Khojaly during the first Nagorno-Karabakh war of 1992. But there’s one thing the international community agrees on regarding this issue – no genocide took place there, according to the accepted definition of the term.

What is happening in Nagorno-Karabakh isn’t the first case of ethnic cleansing that has Israel’s fingerprints on it. The persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar and the Muslims during the Bosnian War are just two examples out of many. Israel ought to have from the Jewish people’s own history that when you mix massive amounts of weaponry with a distortion of history, it’s a recipe for disaster.

The above article is Haaretz’s lead editorial, as published in the Hebrew and English newspapers in Israel.


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