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Ejaz

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Israel Sold High-tech Weapons to Myanmar During Its anti-Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing Campaign


An Israeli Super-Dvora MK II sold to Myanmar during its anti-Rohingya ethnic cleansing campaign

“Welcome to the Myanmar Navy,” said the caption on the Myanmar Navy’s Facebook page, in honor of the arrival of an Israeli patrol boat to Myanmar’s shore. “The Super-Dvora MK II is moving forward at 45 knots on Myanmar waters,” the post continued. The post is from April, only half a year ago, when the Myanmar (Burmese) army was already being accused of war crimes.

Although the persecution of the Muslim minority in Myanmar, the Rohingya people, has become more intense in recent months, back in November 2016 the army was already being accused of brutality against them and of torching their villages. During that period tens of thousands of Rohingyans were expelled from their homes.





The representative of the UN High Commission for Refugees in the region said then that the ultimate purpose of Myanmar’s government is “ethnic cleansing of the Muslim minority.” Since last August more than half a million Rohingyan refugees have fled to Bangladesh, and some of them have testified to methodical rape and murder by the Myanmar military.

The pictures of the two boats on the Facebook page also reveal the weapons that have been installed on them, all blue-and-white products. There’s a Typhoon remote weapon station, made by Rafael, which allows the firing of a heavy machine gun or cannon of up to 30 millimeters. The new patrol boats are only part of a larger transaction signed between Israel and Myanmar. The Ramta division of Israel Aerospace Industries, which manufactures the Super Dvora, is meant to transfer at least two more boats to the local military. According to some reports on the deal, these boats will be built in Myanmar with the help of Israeli technology. IAI refused to comment.
The total value of the arms deal, according to sources in the Israeli weapons industry, is estimated at tens of millions of dollars. An officer involved in the matter told Haaretz that the Myanmar naval commander visited Israel in the past year, “was impressed and wanted to learn.” It was the second visit to Israel by the naval commander in the past five years.

Israeli weapons are being sold to Myanmar despite the restrictions on weapons sales to that country. Only last month Israel refused to announce that it would stop selling weapons to Myanmar despite the UN declaration about ethnic cleansing. The Rohingya minority is now considered the most persecuted people in the world.

Israel is careful not to officially confirm that it is granting permits to Israeli weapons firms to sell weapons to Myanmar. But the visit two years ago by Myanmar’s chief of the armed forces, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who met with Israel’s entire top military brass, was an indication of the cooperation between the two armies. During his visit, Hlaing announced that he had purchased the Super Dvora patrol boat, and he visited the Palmahim Air Force Base and the Gaza Division. A year-and-a-half ago, a reciprocal visit to Myanmar was made by Brig. Gen. Michel Ben-Baruch, head of the Defense Ministries International Defense Cooperation Directorate. In the past, Myanmar purchased Israeli air-to-air missiles and cannons, while an Israeli company, TAR Ideal Concepts, has noted on its website that it has trained Myanmar military forces. Now the site makes no specific reference to Myanmar, referring only to Asia.
The two countries in recent years have signed a memorandum of understanding clarifying the bilateral cooperation and transfer of relevant information and intelligence. According to official reports in Myanmar, the agreement includes military training and improving security cooperation between the two countries. There is, however, no known instance of Myanmar military personnel being trained in Israel, or of Israeli officers who were involved in training Myanmar military forces.

The efforts to fully expose the Israel-Myanmar connection by attorney Eitay Mack, who is active in increasing transparency of Israeli arms exports to countries that violate human rights, have so far been unsuccessful. Last month the High Court of Justice issued a ruling in response to a petition he filed with other human rights activists against the sales, but the ruling was kept classified at the state’s request.
The Defense Ministry said in response, “In general, the Defense Ministry doesn’t typically address security export issues.”
According to a source familiar with the issue, there is currently no relationship between the Israel Defense Forces and the Myanmar army, and no uniformed personnel are involved in any cooperative venture with the Myanmar security establishment.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.818550
 

Scorpion

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No surprise here at all since the issue involves muslims.
 

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700K Rohingya refugees to return to Myanmar within two years
By Sara Shayanian
Jan. 16, 2018

(UPI) -- Bangladesh and Myanmar on Tuesday finalized a two-year timeline to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled from persecution and violence.

The Rohingya Muslim minority will begin to leave Bangladesh, with Myanmar agreeing to accept 1,500 a week with the goal of taking back more than 700,000 refugees within two years.

"We have signed a very positive treaty. After several discussions, Myanmar has agreed to complete the repatriation process preferably within two years from the day it commences," Sufiur Rahman, Bangladesh's ambassador to Myanmar, said.

"We have proposed to repatriate 15,000 Rohingyas every week but they [Myanmar] did not agree to it," he added."They [Myanmar] have taken some preparations for the Rohingyas. They have agreed to take back 300 Rohingyas per day. Some 1,500 Rohingyas will be sent back in a week."

The number of Rohingya sent back every week will increase after three months, Rahman said.

The "physical arrangement" was decided at the first meeting of the Joint Working Group on the return of the displaced Rohingyas from Rakhine State. The meeting was held on Monday and Tuesday in the city of Naypyidaw.

Under the agreement, returnees would be received initially in Myanmar in two reception centers and be temporarily sheltered while officials rebuild the houses for them to move into.

Many displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh, however, remain concerned about returning to Myanmar.

"We are still not clear about what agreement was signed," Sirajul Mostofa, a community leader in a Rohingya camp in Cox's Bazaar, said.

"Our first priority is, they have to grant us citizenship as Rohingyas. Secondly, they have to give back our lands. Thirdly, our security must be ensured internationally. Otherwise, this is not good for us."

A wave of Rohingya migrants began exiting Myanmar last year when military attacks led to widespread violence in Rahkine State -- including allegations of rape, torture and killings.

Last week, Myanmar's military admitted to killing 10 Rohingya Muslims found in a mass grave

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2018/01/16/700K-Rohingya-refugees-to-return-to-Myanmar-within-two-years/6041516106686/?nll=1
 

Nilgiri

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At current rate of return, it will take 10 years or so to repatriate, rather than 2 years.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42699602

It seems to be very much ongoing, fluid deal. Bear in mind many, if not most Rohingya do not want to go to Myanmar without guarantees (like path to citizenship and 3rd party protection etc), and Myanmar clearly has stipulated only those that want to return (in the existing status quo with no change from MM policy end) are allowed back. Its catch 22 that may well show up quite quickly in the implementation (given how many really want to return and that too have the MM issued ID that MM says is needed). I suspect its only small % of the total refugees that fit these two criteria....the current rate is made to be low maybe to cover for this and give time for political gains on both sides.

Is BD going to force/coerce those that dont want to go to MM under this deal?...and will MM simply reject them or force them back into BD at later date?

Its political pawns all over again.
 

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At current rate of return, it will take 10 years or so to repatriate, rather than 2 years.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-42699602

It seems to be very much ongoing, fluid deal. Bear in mind many, if not most Rohingya do not want to go to Myanmar without guarantees (like path to citizenship and 3rd party protection etc), and Myanmar clearly has stipulated only those that want to return (in the existing status quo with no change from MM policy end) are allowed back. Its catch 22 that may well show up quite quickly in the implementation (given how many really want to return and that too have the MM issued ID that MM says is needed). I suspect its only small % of the total refugees that fit these two criteria....the current rate is made to be low maybe to cover for this and give time for political gains on both sides.

Is BD going to force/coerce those that dont want to go to MM under this deal?...and will MM simply reject them or force them back into BD at later date?

Its political pawns all over again.
Why is it that Mayamar not willing to grant them citizenship i believe they are the son of soil and living there ..
 

Nilgiri

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Why is it that Mayamar not willing to grant them citizenship i believe they are the son of soil and living there ..
Complicated given the waves of immigration. Some are indeed sons of soil (as we would define multi-generation presence), but many arrived much more recently....and one side wants to project all as the former, and the other (MM) side wants to project as all of the latter.

Similar to Bengalis in Pakistan, some arrived in Pakistan well before Bangladesh was formed, and are some of biggest patriots of Pakistan (and have descendants today too), but many have arrived later (largely illegally) during the 70s and 80s etc (of all varying perception of Pakistan).

There are parallels with Tamils in Sri Lanka too (many have been there for millenia, others came during British time).

But issue with sons of soils argument is difficult to sustain when there is so much chasm between the culture and also perceived historic injustice (like how British severed, attached, severed again and reattached pieces of this problem Arakan border area to Bengal and Burma given ownership by Bengal Sultanate and Burmese kingdoms in alternate times prior - that cause some 50/50 historic base population split on ethnic basis too). In Sri Lanka and Pakistan, there is some base kinship between the groups I am talking about culturally (even during SL civil war, colombo was tamil majority city for example, shared customs and religious practices between buddhists and hindus lot of the time).....but next to none exists in Arakan now...everything is just segregated and basically all rohingya are seen as complete foreigner by arakanese and burmese.

Ideally yes people should honestly know better and come to peaceful agreement and then honour that afterwards, but it was never done and it has basically festered. Basically a partition agreement was never achieved in first place like in India and Pakistan (as violent as that was in practice anyway)...with context of how British drew the internal boundaries of the Raj that were just inherited verbatim.
 

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Why is it that Mayamar not willing to grant them citizenship i believe they are the son of soil and living there ..
Are they not citizens of the country? If not then who are they? I know in my country we have around ~1M Burmese and forgive my ignorance but I know nothing about their case.
 

Hithchiker

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Are they not citizens of the country? If not then who are they? I know in my country we have around ~1M Burmese and forgive my ignorance but I know nothing about their case.
As far as i know they have not been granted citizenship..but living in the area and are natural inhabitants.
 

Hithchiker

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Complicated given the waves of immigration. Some are indeed sons of soil (as we would define multi-generation presence), but many arrived much more recently....and one side wants to project all as the former, and the other (MM) side wants to project as all of the latter.

Similar to Bengalis in Pakistan, some arrived in Pakistan well before Bangladesh was formed, and are some of biggest patriots of Pakistan (and have descendants today too), but many have arrived later (largely illegally) during the 70s and 80s etc (of all varying perception of Pakistan).

There are parallels with Tamils in Sri Lanka too (many have been there for millenia, others came during British time).

But issue with sons of soils argument is difficult to sustain when there is so much chasm between the culture and also perceived historic injustice (like how British severed, attached, severed again and reattached pieces of this problem Arakan border area to Bengal and Burma given ownership by Bengal Sultanate and Burmese kingdoms in alternate times prior - that cause some 50/50 historic base population split on ethnic basis too). In Sri Lanka and Pakistan, there is some base kinship between the groups I am talking about culturally (even during SL civil war, colombo was tamil majority city for example, shared customs and religious practices between buddhists and hindus lot of the time).....but next to none exists in Arakan now...everything is just segregated and basically all rohingya are seen as complete foreigner by arakanese and burmese.

Ideally yes people should honestly know better and come to peaceful agreement and then honour that afterwards, but it was never done and it has basically festered. Basically a partition agreement was never achieved in first place like in India and Pakistan (as violent as that was in practice anyway)...with context of how British drew the internal boundaries of the Raj that were just inherited verbatim.
Yes , but if we draw analogy lets say Kashmiris are considered Pakistani and Indians on respective side with holding respective nationalities and rights as Pakistani or Indian would have..This is disputed but none has pushed the locals to other side or ethnically clean the area..
Rohingyas are natural inhabitant and might not share cultural or regional coherence with Burmese but yet they are living on the land..
 

Nilgiri

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Yes , but if we draw analogy lets say Kashmiris are considered Pakistani and Indians on respective side with holding respective nationalities and rights as Pakistani or Indian would have..This is disputed but none has pushed the locals to other side or ethnically clean the area..
Rohingyas are natural inhabitant and might not share cultural or regional coherence with Burmese but yet they are living on the land..
Kashmir is kind of unique, it was recognised kingdom etc at time the dispute started.....whereas British had already settled that Rakhine state is part of Burma...and chittagong gets attached to Bengal etc (both combine to make the former greater Arakan area)....there was no kingdom at the partition time basically...and already a delineated pre-radcliffe internal border that got inherited. So there is no special status for these two areas in their respective countries, neither do each claim ownership of the other area, a case of more formalisation leading to more nastiness on the ground. Maybe some parallel to Kashmir pandit exodus but they had easy route to turn into IDP rather than cross a border per se.

Also Burmese have not forgotten that the Rohingya leaders in large number called for Pakistan to intervene, invade Arakan and preserve the muslim majority demographic there during late 60s after they saw war can be effective political tool (when Burma was negotiating what the citizenship process for Rohingya and others would look like, their was even Rohingya members of govt etc at that time). I believe thats the main thing that encapsulated rohingya minority as different and essentially foreign to the other minorities (some of whom have waged their own wars) in Burma in eyes of the Bamar majority. Like yes Kokang have taken some aid from China (given they are ethnic chinese) and Karen and others from Thailand....but essentially they wanted more autonomy and better representation in the federal structure of Burma (at least as Bamar perceive it), rather than calling for full invasion by the respective supporting countries.

It would be tantamount to say Baloch leaders calling for India to intervene in their case quite openly when Pakistan felt fragile (and was in negotiation at the time to come to a solid peace).....or same if Sikh leaders in India etc. (And I mean in levels of near 100% - unlike the small amount that happened in both). That memory would definitely last among the majority of rest of country right?...and I dont think anyone would be surprised when the animosity resurfaces with some sparks.

Its complicated history, way I see it Rohingya had opportunities to play their hand better much earlier, and they messed it up badly and now there is just too many chips with the Burmese side as a result so they just do attrition style tactics now and win the full pot. Vast majority of Burmese back their military response in this affair, its even higher among the Arakan buddhists. It will actually be somewhat authoritarian on Burma military part to fight against their own people majority opinion now. The effects on individual lives can be cruel, but this highlights the importance of having good well visioned but pragmatic leaders at the right important time....that can stay their own reactionary feelings. But hindsight is also 20/20.
 

Hithchiker

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Kashmir is kind of unique, it was recognised kingdom etc at time the dispute started.....whereas British had already settled that Rakhine state is part of Burma...and chittagong gets attached to Bengal etc (both combine to make the former greater Arakan area)....there was no kingdom at the partition time basically...and already a delineated pre-radcliffe internal border that got inherited. So there is no special status for these two areas in their respective countries, neither do each claim ownership of the other area, a case of more formalisation leading to more nastiness on the ground. Maybe some parallel to Kashmir pandit exodus but they had easy route to turn into IDP rather than cross a border per se.

Also Burmese have not forgotten that the Rohingya leaders in large number called for Pakistan to intervene, invade Arakan and preserve the muslim majority demographic there during late 60s after they saw war can be effective political tool (when Burma was negotiating what the citizenship process for Rohingya and others would look like, their was even Rohingya members of govt etc at that time). I believe thats the main thing that encapsulated rohingya minority as different and essentially foreign to the other minorities (some of whom have waged their own wars) in Burma in eyes of the Bamar majority. Like yes Kokang have taken some aid from China (given they are ethnic chinese) and Karen and others from Thailand....but essentially they wanted more autonomy and better representation in the federal structure of Burma (at least as Bamar perceive it), rather than calling for full invasion by the respective supporting countries.

It would be tantamount to say Baloch leaders calling for India to intervene in their case quite openly when Pakistan felt fragile (and was in negotiation at the time to come to a solid peace).....or same if Sikh leaders in India etc. (And I mean in levels of near 100% - unlike the small amount that happened in both). That memory would definitely last among the majority of rest of country right?...and I dont think anyone would be surprised when the animosity resurfaces with some sparks.

Its complicated history, way I see it Rohingya had opportunities to play their hand better much earlier, and they messed it up badly and now there is just too many chips with the Burmese side as a result so they just do attrition style tactics now and win the full pot. Vast majority of Burmese back their military response in this affair, its even higher among the Arakan buddhists. It will actually be somewhat authoritarian on Burma military part to fight against their own people majority opinion now. The effects on individual lives can be cruel, but this highlights the importance of having good well visioned but pragmatic leaders at the right important time....that can stay their own reactionary feelings. But hindsight is also 20/20.
will dig it more and come back then...thanks for thorough writing
 

Scorpion

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As far as i know they have not been granted citizenship..but living in the area and are natural inhabitants.
What does the government regard them as?
 

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Rohingya refugees face immense health needs; UN scales up support ahead of monsoon season
20 February 2018

Critical health services must be scaled up for nearly 1.3 million people – Rohingyas and their surrounding host communities – in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar, where vulnerable populations in crowded settlements and 'mega camps' are at risk of a host of waterborne diseases, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) warned Tuesday.

"Commendable efforts have been made by the Government of Bangladesh and partner agencies to provide health services; prevent diseases such as cholera; and rapidly control outbreaks of measles and diphtheria. However, the challenges are huge, multiple and evolving," said Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for (WHO) South-East Asia.

"The magnitude of the crisis requires continued efforts and generous contributions by all partners to scale up health services for the vulnerable population," she added.

One of the largest population movements in the shortest time span began 25 August when an estimated 688,000 Rohingyas crossed from Myanmar to Cox's Bazar – joining nearly 212,500 others who had arrived in earlier waves.

Health needs continue to be immense, particularly surrounding reproductive care. Some 60,000 children are expected to be born in the camps over the next year. Besides mothers, newborns and children, the elderly need basic health services, including for trauma and various non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and psychosocial support.

"Water and sanitation, and shelter continues to be far from optimum, increasing the risk of rapid spread of several communicable and water borne diseases," the Regional Director said, stressing the need to accelerate efforts to address the key determinants of health on a priority.

The upcoming rainy season increases the vulnerability to waterborne diseases, such as diarrhea and hepatitis, and vector borne diseases, including malaria, dengue and chikungunya.

When the crisis first began, WHO established the Early Warning and Response System (EWARS) for rapid detection and response to disease outbreaks to minimize death and disease, which along with risk assessments, prompted Bangladesh to carry out large scale vaccination campaigns for cholera, measles and rubella, polio and diphtheria.

"The health sector is grossly under-funded and grappling to meet the needs of the affected population," Dr. Khetrapal Singh said, appealing to international community to contribute generously and commit to support what clearly is set to be a protracted emergency.

Living in 'no man's land'

At the same time, Andrej Mahecic, spokesperson of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) warned on "the situation of several thousand Rohingya who have been living in a so-called 'no man's land' near the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh" since end-August.

"We estimate there are some 1,300 families, approximately 5,300 men, women, boys and girls living in the area near Tombru canal," he stated, noting that some feared returning home and wished to seek safety in Bangladesh.

He reiterated that everyone has the right to seek asylum, just as they also have the right to return home when they deem the time and circumstances right.

"People who have fled violence in their country must be guaranteed safety and protection, and must be consulted on their future," he underscored.

Meanwhile, ahead of the monsoon season, UNHCR and partners continue to step up preparations to protect refugees, including encouraging those most at risk of floods and landslides to relocate to other areas.

"UNHCR staff are facilitating community engagement in preparedness efforts, in particular on appropriate messaging to communities likely to be affected by landslides, floods or cyclones, and analyzing community coping mechanisms and preparedness plans," he concluded.

https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/02/1003122
 

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