Israel has continued to sell weapons to Myanmar as thousands of its Rohingya Muslim minority flee the country to avoid growing violence in Rakhine state.
More than 100 tanks, as well as boats and light weapons have been sold to the Myanmar government by Israeli arms companies, according to investigations by several human rights groups.
One company, TAR Ideal Concepts, has also trained Myanmar special forces in northern Rakhine state, where much of the violence is taking place.
The latest violence began on Aug. 25, when Rohingya insurgents attacked dozens of police posts and an army base. The ensuing clashes and a military counter-offensive have killed at least 400 people and sent nearly 146,000 Rohingya fleeing over the border to Bangladesh.
Myanmar said its security forces are fighting a legitimate campaign against "terrorists" and blamed Rohingya militants for the burning of homes and civilian deaths. But rights monitors and Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh accused the Myanmar army of trying to force them out with a campaign of arson and killings.
The United States and the European Union have imposed an arms embargo against Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
Israel’s High Court of Justice is scheduled to hear on whether to ban arms sales to the country later this month after a petition by Israeli activists.
In March, the defense ministry argued that the court has no standing in the matter, which it called “clearly diplomatic.”
Eitay Mack, the lawyer presenting the petition, told Middle East Eye that Israel has "no control" over its arms exports once they are sent overseas.
“Israel has no control of what's happening with its weapons once it sends its weapons to Burma,” Mack said. “But from TAR Ideal’s website, we know that they are arming and training Burmese special forces who are operating in the Rakhine state right now."
Israel has developed a strong relationship with Myanmar and maintained trade relations over the years, even before the military junta stepped down.
Myanmar’s current Commander in Chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing visited Israel in September 2015 on a “shopping trip” of Israeli military manufacturers. According to Haaretz Newspaper, his delegation met with President Reuven Rivlin as well as military officials.
"Successive Israeli governments have been selling arms to the military dictatorship in Burma for years," Ofer Neiman, an Israeli human rights activist, told Middle East Eye.
"This policy is strongly related to Israel's oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people,” he continued. “Weapons used against the Palestinians are being sold as 'field-tested' to some of the worst regimes on the planet.”