Israel ambassador sends ‘GOOD LUCK’ message to Myanmar ahead of genocide hearings at the Hague

Foreign ministry admits tweets were ‘a mistake’

Samuel Osborne
Thursday 28 November 2019 12:54 GMT
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Rohingya refugees gather behind a barbed-wire fence in a temporary settlement set up in a 'no man's land' border zone between Myanmar and Bangladesh
Rohingya refugees gather behind a barbed-wire fence in a temporary settlement set up in a 'no man's land' border zone between Myanmar and Bangladesh

An Israel ambassador tweeted a message of “GOOD LUCK” to Myanmar ahead of an international tribunal at The Hague over accusations the state committed genocide against its Rohingya Muslim minority.

Ronen Gilor, the ambassador to Myanmar, wished the country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi good luck in several tweets which have since been deleted, though Israel’s Haaretz newspaper has screenshots.

On Thursday, Israel’s foreign ministry said the ambassador’s tweets ahead of the hearings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague next month were a mistake.

“The ambassador’s tweet was a mistake and was immediately amended,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

“Israel forthrightly condemns the atrocities perpetrated against the Rohingya in the Rakhine region. Israel voted, a week ago, in favour of a UN resolution condemning the atrocities.”

Mr Gilor had tweeted: “Encouragement for a good verdict and good luck!”

He followed up with another saying: “State Counsellor going to respond for Myanmar in the ICJ! GOOD LUCK!”

More than 730,000 Rohingya have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh following a crackdown by Myanmar’s military in 2017, which UN investigators have said was carried out with “genocidal intent”.

Ms Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader, will lead a delegation to defend against accusations filed at the ICJ by Gambia, on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, accusing Myanmar of genocide against the Rohingya.

It comes as International Criminal Court judges approved a request from prosecutors to open an investigation into crimes against humanity committed against the Rohingya.

In August this year, a UN report said Israel was among seven countries which have continued to sell arms to Myanmar despite its brutal military crackdown on the Muslim minority.

Two Israeli-made gunboats were delivered to Myanmar’s navy in April 2017, with the state-owned Israeli Aerospace Industry meant to provide at least two more boats.

A year earlier, an Israeli company named TAR Ideal Concept posted a picture on its website showing staff teaching combat tactics to Myanmar’s special forces in northern Rakhine state, where much of the violence against the Rohingya took place.

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