Judge rules the petition lacked evidence
Israel’s High Court of Justice on Monday rejected a petition to ban arms sales to Azerbaijan as lacking evidence to justify a hearing on whether they have been used for war crimes against Armenia, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The petition to ban arms sales to Baku was filed by Elie Joseph, an Israeli activist who has been on a hunger strike over this matter.
As evidence, Joseph presented news reports that 60 percent of Azerbaijan’s arms come from Israel and evidence of a potential air lift of weapons to Azerbaijan days before its current conflict with Armenia erupted. He also presented news accounts and a report by Amnesty International with evidence that Azerbaijan is using Israeli drones to kill Armenians,
Almost none of what Joseph presented proves that Israeli weapons have been used against Armenians for war crimes, the presiding Justice Yosef Elron said. At most, it proves that Israeli weapons have been sold to Azerbaijan, which might mean being held in storage or in reserve for defensive purposes only, he said. The ruling does not preclude a later petition presenting more comprehensive evidence, said JPost.
The newspaper cited a past instance where the country’s High Court rejected a similar petition calling for the halt of Israeli arms sales to Malaysia. In that case, however, the court held “a spirited hearing. In that case, the court placed its decision under gag order. “It presumably recognized that Israel was selling or had sold arms to Malaysia that likely were being used for alleged war crimes. But it rejected the petition either because Israel wanted to cease selling arms quietly or because of classified alleged national security interests,” said JPost.
Itay Mack, a human rights lawyer, told JPost that he, too, was calling on Israel to stop arms sales to Azerbaijan as a moral matter, adding that he appealed directly to the government to cease any sales to Azerbaijan based on more general evidence from Azerbaijani officials.
Over the years, Baku has boasted about its military alliance with Israel announcing, during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that his country would acquire $5 billion worth of weapons from Israel, and posing in front of Israeli weapons when they arrived in Baku.
In July, when Azerbaijan brazenly attacked civilian and military targets in Armenia’s Tavush Province, Armenia’s Defense Ministry displayed several Israel-made drones that were downed by Armenia’s Armed Forces. In the current military conflict, evidence of Artsakh forces downing Israeli drones has been captured by the troops on the ground and publicized by both Armenian and Artsakh government sources.
Before Azerbaijan’s attacks on Artsakh started on September 27, leaked documents revealed that the country’s state run Israel Aerospace Industries had funneled $155 million, through shell companies, to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and his clan as part of the widely-publicized Azerbaijani Laundromat scheme.