Armenia, Israel Discuss Ties

Israeli and Armenian delegations at the talks

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)—Senior Armenian and Israeli diplomats discussed the sometimes uneasy relationship between their countries during two days of consultations that ended in Yerevan on Tuesday.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry said the two negotiating teams were headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosian and Pinchas Avivi, a high-level Israeli Foreign Ministry official coordinating ties with Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

“During the consultations the two sides discussed issues related to Armenia-Israel cooperation, developments taking place in the Middle East and South Caucasus regions as well as other issues of mutual interest,” read a ministry statement. It gave no details of those discussions.

Although the statement described the talks as “regular,” they are understood to be connected with Kirakosian’s July 25 phone conversation with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Ministry Danny Ayalon.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry said that Ayalon “thanked Kirakosian for the friendly relationship and mentioned the historical ties and cultural similarities between the two nations.”

“Ayalon emphasized the importance Israel attaches to the continuous development of diplomatic relations and practical cooperation with Armenia,” the ministry said in a statement. “He further stated that it would be his pleasure to visit Yerevan, and invited Kirakosian to visit Israel.”

Ayalon also “reiterated the special sensitivity we, as Jews, feel regarding the Armenian tragedy,” the statement added in reference to the Genocide.

Successive Israeli governments have resisted domestic and Armenian calls for an official Israeli recognition of the first genocide of the 20th century.

Support for such recognition appears to have grown within the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, over the past year. Some observers attribute that to Israel’s increasingly strained relations with Turkey, which vehemently denies the genocide.

Diplomatic sources in Yerevan say that Ayalon phoned his Armenian counterpart to address the Armenian government’s unease over Israel’s growing ties with Azerbaijan, which was communicated to another Israeli diplomat earlier this summer.

One source told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that Ayalon strongly denied news reports that quoted him as saying in May that Israel will not recognize the Armenian genocide because of Azerbaijan’s importance for his country.

Incidentally, Avivi, who served as Israel’s ambassador to Turkey from 2003-2007, and other Israeli diplomats accompanying him visited Yerevan’s Tsitsernakabert genocide memorial on Tuesday.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman held up the Azerbaijani-Israeli ties as a model for cooperation between the Jewish state and a Muslim nation when he visited Baku in February 2010. He also reportedly voiced support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and denounced the international community’s “inadequate and hypocritical” approach to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“Unfortunately, the international community prefers sweet lies,” Azerbaijani media quoted Lieberman as saying at the time.

In what may have been an attempt to soothe Yerevan, Ayalon clearly contradicted those remarks in his phone call with Kirakosian. According to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, he said that “Israel supports the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group to reach a negotiated resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.”

The United States, Russia and France have been trying to broker a solution to the Armenian-Azerbaijani dispute with the framework of the Minsk Group.

Yerevan should have more serious concerns about Azerbaijani-Israeli military cooperation. Israel’s “Ha’aretz” daily reported in 2008 that the two governments have signed a deal that will enable Azerbaijan to purchase Israeli weapons, other military equipment and ammunition worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Baku announced last year that an Israeli defense company will upgrade dozens of Azerbaijani army tanks. Another Israeli firm is known to have sold unmanned military aircraft to Baku in recent years. An Azerbaijani-Israeli joint venture reportedly began assembling drones in Azerbaijan earlier this year.

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17 Comments

  1. Gregory said:

    “reiterated the special sensitivity we, as Jews, feel regarding the Armenian tragedy,” the statement added in reference to the Genocide”

    It is utterly disgusting that the State Of Israel, whose people have suffered from or have relatives that have experienced the Shoah, seek to deny the frist genocide of the 20th century. This is coupled with the fact that the word genocide was coined by professor Rapael Lempkin in 1930 to decribe what happened to the Armenians between 1914 to 1918. To deny that The Armenian Genocide ever occured or was a genocide is effectively denying that the word “genocide” even exists. This is because The Armenian Genocide is the quintessential genocide.
    There is also a huge gap in terms of Israel’s sensitivity towards the Armenians (and their genocide) and its sensitivity towards Turkish/ Azeri relations. I think we all know which of these takes the driver’s seat in terms of priority.

    • Elchin said:

      Gregory don’t lie, legal definition is found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG) to describe what happened to the Jews, not Armenians.

  2. manooshag said:

    Well, Baku announces that Israelis will upgrade Azeri army tanks…
    Azeris purchase Israeli weapons… to be used against Artsakh!!
    Too, Israel has been on – again/off again – so many times… can Israel be a trusted ally??
    Unashamedly, Israel still has not been able to recognize the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation!!
    Appears only Jews suffered genocide – unable to recognize others – even first Genocide of 20th century!!
    Israel needs the oil-producing countries…  Armenia has not any oils… yet…
    What is Israel seeking from the Christian nation of Armenia… fledgling nation of only 20 years?

  3. manooshag said:

    The Israelis discussions of the recognition of the Turkish Genocide of the Armenian nation has been voted on over , over, over… talk, talk, talk…. committees, committees, committees, departments, etc… Actually, what does Armenia have to offer such as an Israel who has difficulty maintaining their on/off relations with the Turkeys.

    • manooshag said:

      Iran is a great neighbor and friend to our fledgling Armenian nation. The Iranians have forth to show their stance in the Caucasus. Many peoples, Christians, Muslims and more live together and in Iran. Strangely, the Israelis can and do connect and disconnect with nations (Turkey is a
      prime example) and such connections are tolerated. The irony is that the Israelis are joined by such as the leadership in the USA to speak, together, against the Iranians… as if the Iranians are the most mis-directed leaders on the planet earth… That the Israelis are ready and able to fault Iranians for what one of their leaders had “spoken” against the Israelis. What makes the Israelis so superior?? The Israeli treatments of taking more and more of the Palestinians lands, and more – over all these years – is the more deplorable than what the few “words” (of opinion) spoken – once – against the Jews. Too, sadly, USA leaderships agree! WHY? Israel, as are the Turks, are not the best “character” to become the ally of the fledlgling nation of Armenia!

  4. Jack said:

    I hope they also discussed the treatment of Armenians in Israel, though I doubt Yerevan cares.

    Also, exactly what are the ‘historical ties’ and ‘cultural similarities’ that is always reiterated when Jews and Armenians meet? What historical ties? What cultural similarities?

    • Ananias said:

      Paron Jack, the historical ties between Armenia and Hebrews are traced back to BC. This is an excerpt from Wikipedia that talks about how Jews arrived to Armenia “Tigranes the Great retreated from Israel and encouraged 10,000 Jews to join him on his return to his kingdom. Thus, Armenia’s Jewish community was established. Like the rest of Armenia’s population, they suffered the consequences of regional powers trying to divide and conquer the country.” Cultural ties always follow the physical ones. In my opinion the huge similarity is the fact that both of our nations have been able to survive and maintain our ways of life because of our respective religions. In spirit and action (most of the time) I am a devout Christian, but I would have not completely understood what Yahshua (a.k.a. Jesus, meaning “I save”) is saying if I did not study the Old Testament. Our fate is also similar where we have been thrown all over the world and instead of disappearing we became stronger by sticking to our ways while enriching our DNA…

    • Araxi said:

      Answer to all the questions Jack- None, none, none. Only in their dreams.

  5. phillip said:

    Just leave all your options open, things,times and peaople are changing, You never know!!!! You NEVER KNOW

  6. The Truth said:

    ‎ This has becoem a ltradition in Israel, whenever they like to please Turks they – Israeli politicians ‎and Jewish forces close to Israel- use anti Armenian rhetoric and so on ..‎
    ‎ ‎ Israeli is arming Azerbaijan and at the end threatening the very existence of our young Republic and NKR and ‎telling us “bla , bla, bla, bla, ‎
    This Azerbaijani Republic is nothing without the support of Turkey and support of Israeli ‎Diaspora (inlc. so called corrupt “experts” in certain European countries !‎
    A Jews (politician or non politician) for the officials in Ankara and fascists in Baku is ‎generally (currently) a lot of “worth “ simple the anti Armenian forces in Ankara and Baku ‎need almost the support of every Jews in order to be able to fight the tiny republic of ‎Armenian and Armenians.! The Israeli gov. by supporting Azerbaijani and denial Turkish ‎government, Israel and Jews are merely digging there own grave in the long term…. ‎

    ‎ We Armenians should have open discussion with Jews … but we should not become pro ‎Israeli or anti Jews or anti Israeli either ( we can not offer to fight in many fronts ). ‎Armenian people should simple realize the danger be aware of the dirty games of Israel and ‎Jewish Diaspora against Armenian people, and learn or develop more effect weapon(methods ‎‎, which could able us to relay first of all on our power ,on or nation, unity and on our ‎resources ‎

  7. shahen said:

    I can only warn our leaders to be cautious about Israel and their intentions. I think it has a lot to do with upcoming September vote on recognition of state of Palestine which I think Armenia is going to vote yes.
    I also think it has to do with the friction Israel and Turkey have over this matter. I always remember how jews would take Turkish side growing up in azerbaijan. They have nothing to offer to us as long as they have strong ties with azeries. They are two face people who put $ before their beliefs. do not trust them, use them as much as you can.they are the main cause of Armenian genocide.

  8. Stephen T. Dulgarian said:

    The Israeli Ambassador in the past few years made the statement that their was no comparison on what the Jewish People went thru as being the same as the Armenians. In other words, Armenians never went thru a Genocide. When the Armenian Government heard this, they should of immediately removed her as the Israeli Ambassador to Armenia. Here in the USA, the Turkish Government is using five Jewish Organizations in helping Turkey to deny the Armenian Genocide. These Jewish Organizations have influenced the President and the State Dept. over the years in seeing that the Armenian Genocide is put to one side. The Armenian Government & the Armenian Diaspora must work together in getting Washington to recognize this injustice to the Armenian People.

  9. Arto said:

    Don’t trust Israel. They are just playing a game to irritate the Turks. But they will only irritate, not anger. Recognition of the Armenian Genocide will never happen.

  10. Not Ahmet said:

    Jack: Wikipedia.
    Israel: Don’t even bother. Sell some more drones to the Turks of Northern Iran and give air support to the Turks of Asia Minor. And be asured that they won’t ever ever turn against you, or will they?

  11. manooshag said:

    Too, what is the connection with the Israelis and our Armenian rights within Jerusalem?? Armenian (elderly Archbishop had signed up for nearly 100 years)….. Recalling… something to do with the rights of Armenians and our Christian rights to continue to exist in Jerusalem…

  12. ARA said:

    The Israelis will arm and sell their used clothes to anyone who will buy it – they know that the turks like all other muslims just assume that Israel perish-by the jews denial of our genocide-they will never know who will shoot them next- we have never fought them or disrespected them-if they arm the azeris and othe enemies of themselves and ours-they only hurt their own people more and more and more-one day-no one will call on them-they will not be here

  13. ArdeVast Atheian said:

    Jews and Armenians alone have survived persecution throughout their history in and out of their country. Israel realizes it cannot survive without winning over her Islamic neighbors. Armenia also is in a similar condition but we do not interfere with the political affairs of our host countries as Jews do. Hence the reason why they are despised and we aren’t.

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