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Armenians in Israel angry over arms sales to Azerbaijan

Members of the Armenian diaspora in Israel expressed anger over the country selling arms to Azerbaijan that are being used in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Media Line reported on Wednesday.

“We’re extremely angry with the Israeli government for selling weapons to Azerbaijan. It’s not only detrimental to the Armenian people, but to the Israeli people as well,” David Galfayan, head of the Noyan Tapan Armenian Center for Culture and Education in Israel, told the U.S. news agency.

Armenia recalled its ambassador from Israel on Oct. 1 for consultations after reports of the country’s arms being used in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict by Azerbaijan, including armaments sold in 2018. Yerevan had described the Israel’s government’s work style as “unacceptable”.

Galfayan said the sales could be turned against Israel. “There are many terrorists that Turkey has imported from Syria to fight in Azerbaijan. All those weapons we’re supplying them, tomorrow will reach our borders and be turned against us,” he said, referring to allegations that Ankara-allied Syrian rebels were hired and transferred to Azerbaijan to bolster Azeri forces.

“We’re mad not only as Armenians but as Israelis as well,” Galfayan said.

Tsvi Kan-Tor, chair of the Israel-Armenia Chamber of Commerce, said a lot of support for Israel in Armenia was disappearing.

“There is a lot of anger toward Israel,” he said. “I speak with my friends in Armenia and they all say one thing: “Why are you killing us?””

The current round of fighting between Armenian and Azeri forces is the latest flare-up in a decades-long dispute over the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region. The fighting has threatened to expand beyond the breakaway state, which is internationally recognised as Azerbaijan’s territory but controlled by ethnic Armenians.

Turkey has declared its firm support of Azerbaijan, saying it is ready to do whatever is necessary to eject Armenian forces from the region. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has dismissed repeated international calls for an immediate ceasefire as “superficial” and “not useful”. Ankara has been accused of supplying Azerbaijan with arms and manpower by Armenia, Russia, France and Iran.

“People are dying on both sides, just because of Erdoğan. This is all his fault,” Galfayan said.

Kan-Tor said it remained unclear how the fighting will affect long-term Israeli-Armenian relations. “Armenians are just now understanding that the world operates based solely on interests.”

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