Israel Intends to Send More Drones to Azerbaijan in Coming Days, Meretz Chairwoman Claims

In letter to defense minister, Galon demands Israel halt delivery until Azeris pledge not to use Israeli arms against Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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A screenshot from a Israel Aerospace Industries video showing a Harop drone.
A screenshot from a Israel Aerospace Industries video showing a Harop drone. Credit: Screenshot

Israel intends to deliver more drones to the Azeri army in the coming days, according to a letter sent to Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon by Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon.

In the letter, Galon demanded that Ya’alon put a stop to the delivery of Israeli drones to Azerbaijan, which is fighting against Armenia in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region, until it receives an absolute commitment that its army will not use Israeli armaments against Armenian forces.

“As you know, Armenia and Azerbaijan are both friendly to Israel, and it is inconceivable that Israeli weapons be used in a war between the two countries over the Nagorno-Karabakh region,” wrote Galon.

The Meretz chairperson added in her letter that both sides have repeatedly violated the laws of war during the battles. “It is Israel’s obligation to ensure that weapons it manufactures do not contribute to igniting the land which is burning anyway, and not to take part in attacks by either side,” Galon stressed to Ya’alon.

An Azerbaijani Israeli-made suicide drone allegedly on a mission in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Galon noted that according to what she knows, Israel already supplied the Azeri army some “suicide” Harop drones manufactured by Israel Aircraft Industries, like the one seen in a video from the battlefield published a few days ago. She added that according to information in her hands, Israel is expected to deliver additional drones to the Azeris. An Armenian Defense Ministry spokesman asserted that one of the drones seen in the video crashed into a bus and killed seven “Armenian volunteers” en route to the battlefield.

“Israel is a major arms supplier to Azerbaijan, and the states signed deals worth some $5 billion in recent years according to reports,” remarked Galon. “It’s our obligation to ensure that this weaponry not be turned on countries friendly to us, and certainly not against civilians. Because there is a serious fear that laws of war were violated with Israeli weapons. I ask that you order the halting of additional drone supplies to Azerbaijan until a commitment is obtained not to use them in battles in Nagorno-Karabah.”

Haaretz revealed on Sunday that the Armenian ambassador in Cairo, who also serves as ambassador to Israel, visited Jerusalem last week to sharply protest to senior Foreign Ministry officials about the suicide drone incident and Israeli arms supplies to Azerbaijan in general. The ambassador stressed his country expect Israel not to supply Azerbaijan with arms for use against Armenia.

The defense minister's bureau said that they have received the letter, but added they have no further comment.

Still, Armenia’s deputy defense minister, David Tonoyan, told Radio Liberty that Israel has offered to sell Armenia the same arms it sells Azerbaijan, stressing suicide drones. He said Armenia rejected the offer because it had no need for such arms.

Clashes renewed in Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian enclave inside Azerbaijan that declared independence in 1991, comprising the worst round of violence since the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994. The Azeri army asserted 12 soldiers and over 100 Armenian soldiers were killed in the fighting. Armenia said it inflicted heavy losses on the Azeris without giving exact numbers.