Israel denounces atrocities against Rohingya in Myanmar after diplomat’s tweet
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Israel denounces atrocities against Rohingya in Myanmar after diplomat’s tweet

Ambassador Ronen Gilor publicly wished ‘good luck’ to southeast Asian nation’s officials facing a genocide trial in international court, then deleted message

Illustrative: Rohingya women cry and shout slogans during a protest rally to commemorate the first anniversary of Myanmar army's crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh, August 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
Illustrative: Rohingya women cry and shout slogans during a protest rally to commemorate the first anniversary of Myanmar army's crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh, August 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

The Foreign Ministry condemned the atrocities that occurred in Myanmar against the Rohingya Muslims after an Israeli diplomat tweeted support for government officials there facing a genocide trial in international court.

“Encouragement for a good verdict and good luck!” Israel’s ambassador to Myanmar, Ronen Gilor, tweeted at the beginning of the week, expressing support for Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Prize winner who also serves as the country’s foreign minister.

The tweet was later deleted, after a query from the Israeli daily Haaretz, the newspaper and news website reported.

On Thursday, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the tweet was written “in error, and was corrected immediately.” The statement also said that “Israel strongly condemns the atrocities that took place in the Rakhine region against the Rohingya. About a week ago, Israel voted in favor of a resolution to denounce the atrocities.”

Myanmar has been accused of allowing mass rape and murder, as well as the burning down of homes in suppressing the Rohingya minority in the west of the country since 2016. The country’s leaders will face genocide charges in the International Court of Justice in The Hague starting on December 10.

Israel’s approach to relations with the southeast Asian country has been controversial. In 2017, Jerusalem announced that it had halted weapons sales to Myanmar, which had been banned by the Supreme Court, but its statement made no mention of other security-related products, like surveillance technology or military training services.

Israel’s defense exports are largely secret, with the list of countries to which Israeli firms can sell weapons kept classified. Despite the ban, Haaretz reported last year that Myanmar military representatives were seen attending a security expo in Tel Aviv. Israel subsequently announced a ban on representatives from Myanmar at such events.

Ambassador Gilor Ronen. (Twitter)

Israel was named in a United Nations report released this August which listed countries and firms involved in the sale of arms to Myanmar’s armed forces since 2016, when the military began its brutal counterinsurgency campaign that drove more than 700,000 members of the Rohingya minority into neighboring Bangladesh in what international investigators branded a “genocide.”

A wide array of international groups have shown killings, rapes and the torching of villages carried out on a large scale by Myanmar security forces in the context of the Rohingya campaign. Myanmar’s government has denied abuses and said its actions were justified in response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents.

Last summer, Israel and Myanmar signed a controversial bilateral educational agreement that would grant both sides the right to “endeavor to mutually verify school textbooks, particularly concerning the passages referring to the history of the other state and, where needed, introduce corrections to these textbooks.”

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