Israel-Palestine: Whose side is Azerbaijan on?
12 May 2021
he Middle East is restless again. Fierce fighting has been going on between Israel and Palestine for several days. Since the beginning of the last conflict in Israel, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades , Hamas' militant wing, has fired about 1,000 rockets, most of which have been eliminated by Israel's Iron Dome air defense system.
Official Baku takes a very cautious position in this conflict. And there are a number of weighty circumstances for this. On the one hand, Israel, which has repeatedly supported our country in the struggle for territorial integrity, and on the other, Palestine, a muslim country actively supported by Turkey and personally by President Erdogan.
Baku's cautious position is understandable. But we would like to consider a number of factors that testify to the strategic partnership between Azerbaijan and Israel.
For many years, Israel has consistently and purposefully sold Azerbaijan the most modern weapons systems. For example, the Iron Dome system, with which Israel is currently repelling enemy air attacks, is in addition to Israel itself at the disposal of only three countries in the world. These are Azerbaijan, the USA and the Republic of Korea. According to some reports, it was this system that actively helped Azerbaijan during the Second Karabakh War.
In addition, the Israeli side has supplied various drones to Azerbaijan. What is the IAI Harop - an Israeli reconnaissance and strike drone, which showed itself during the clashes in Karabakh in 2016, as well as during the Second Karabakh War. Dozens of confirmed (videos posted on the network) targets were hit by the Harop strike drone.
Other military developments of Israel were actively used in the armament of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan, which played an irreplaceable role in the surrender of the Armenian side. And we are obliged to remember all this, and, albeit tacitly, but to be close to the Israeli side at a difficult hour for it.
Yes, some "hotheads" on social networks exclaim, they say, these weapons were sold to us for money. But there is a clear and unambiguous answer to this - yes, we bought these weapons, but Israel sells them to a few countries. Only to those whom Azerbaijan rightfully calls its sincere and loyal friends. There are rich countries, but Israel flatly refuses to sell them its weapons.
Let's look at this question from the other side. For what reasons should Azerbaijan support Palestine in this conflict? It is not a secret for anyone how they treat Palestine, Lebanon and Syria in Armenia. The special feelings of armenians for the palestinians and a number of other arab countries are known to everyone. Let us recall once again the second Karabakh War. Did Palestine come out with full and unconditional support for the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan? Not. Did the fact that fraternal Turkey was on our side, which does not particularly sympathize with Israel, prevented Israel from supporting Azerbaijan? Also no.
We understand that the piquancy of the situation lies in the fact that in this conflict our fraternal country, Turkey, is also against Israel. However, Azerbaijan always approaches the international agenda very carefully and clearly, and will never take steps directed against its strategic partners and fraternal countries, which include Israel and Turkey. For us, first of all, our national interests are important. We think this is well understood both in Tel Aviv and in Ankara.
I am glad that, compared with previous years, today many Azerbaijani social media users are more sober in their approach to the issue of Israeli-Palestinian relations. If a few years ago many people spoke out for Palestine out of emotion, this time our fellow citizens assess the events taking place more soberly.
It would be appropriate to recall the words of President İlham Aliyev, which he voiced during and after the Second Karabakh War. He has repeatedly stressed that the war has shown the true face of some countries.
“The recovery period is now beginning, large-scale creative work will be carried out. Of course, Azerbaijani companies will participate in this business in the first place. We will also invite companies from friendly countries, or rather, we have already invited. Of course, I want to say again that companies from friendly countries will participate in this work. And true friendship is manifested precisely in difficult moments. And this war showed us at the same time who, which countries are the true friends of Azerbaijan. We are a people who value friendship, ”said the head of state.
Yes, we are a people who value friendship. That is why some Israeli companies are already participating in the restoration of the liberated territories. In the liberated Zangilan region, Israel has begun to restore a number of agricultural facilities. Israel is about to build a high-tech buffalo farm. Companies from fraternal Turkey, Italy and China are also involved in the work in the liberated territories.
As we can see, Palestine is not on this list. And a priori it could not be.
I would also like to recall the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Azerbaijan.
“The close relationship between the two countries does not only mean arms trade, it also speaks of mutual respect. As Netanyahu said, “With the traditions of tolerance and inclusiveness that you maintain, the Jewish people feel very comfortable here. Jews from Azerbaijan living in Israel also play the role of a bridge between the two states, ”Netanyahu said at the time.
And, indeed, a large Jewish community lives in Azerbaijan, to which both the leadership of Azerbaijan and ordinary citizens treat with great trepidation and respect. Azerbaijanis and Jews live in our country in peace and harmony. It is worth noting that numerous immigrants from Azerbaijan also live in Israel, but who always remember and do not lose touch with their historical homeland - Azerbaijan. Natives of Azerbaijan have repeatedly carried out various actions in support of our country in Israel. Also, the Jewish lobby in the United States is on the side of Baku in many issues.
“As you sow, so you reap,” the scriptures say. And in terms of attitudes towards Azerbaijan, each of the countries, both Israel and Palestine, are reaping exactly what they have sown for many years.
The author is an independent political expert
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