Armenia takes revenge on Israel by recognizing Palestinian state
    Article by Ynet News

    WORLD  22 June 2024 - 14:00

    The Israel-based Ynet News portal has published an article highlighting the decision by Armenia to recognize the Palestinian state. Caliber.Az reprints the article.

    In Israel, they were not surprised by the Armenian government's decision to announce its recognition of Palestine. Armenia is the 145th country to recognize Palestine and the ninth to do so since the war broke out. Following the recognition, the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem summoned Armenia's ambassador to Israel for a severe reprimand.

    In fact, Armenia's failure to recognize Palestine until now is considered unusual because it was part of the former Soviet Union and many countries in the Soviet bloc continued recognition even after their independence. Armenia, for some reason, did not follow suit but was expected to have done so long ago. 

    The reason behind the decision should not surprise anyone. Jerusalem has had a very tense relationship with Armenia for several years, due to the strong and special relationship between Israel and Azerbaijan. Israel is considered one of Azerbaijan's main weapons suppliers, and the Shiite Muslim country is also Israel's main fuel supplier. The Armenians are angry about the significant military aid to Azerbaijan and always say that it's money for Israel, but death from them and they won't forget it." Now the Armenians are exacting their revenge.

    The Armenian public opinion is decisively anti-Israeli, to the extent of blatant antisemitism. On June 11, vandals desecrated the synagogue in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia. Local police opened an investigation into the incident, and according to suspicion, the vandals threw rocks at the synagogue's windows and shattered them. Since the beginning of the war, there have been three attempts to set fire to this synagogue.

    At the beginning of the year, Armenian neo-Nazis organized a march in Yerevan, made the Nazi salute, and shouted "Sieg Heil." The event took place at a monument in the center of the capital in memory of Garegin Nzhdeh, an Armenian general who collaborated with the Nazi SS and was convicted of war crimes by a Soviet tribunal after cooperating with Adolf Hitler.

    Despite the dubious past of General Nzhdeh, in 2016, monuments were erected in Yerevan and two other cities in Armenia in his memory. In addition, 17 cities across the country have named streets after him. In the Armenian capital, there is also a monument to the victims of the Holocaust, which was vandalized several times in the past.

    Joel Lion, Israel's ambassador to Moldova and Armenia, condemned the neo-Nazi march in Yerevan earlier this year and tweeted: "Deeply disturbed by the march in Yerevan, on 1.1.2024, echoing 'Sieg Heil' chants. Glorifying Garegin Nzhdeh, a Nazi collaborator is unacceptable. Authorities must take a firm stand against any form of neo-nazism & antisemitism." Lion's response sparked sharp attacks from antisemitic figures in Armenia.

    Since the outbreak of the war in Gaza, several antisemitic incidents have occurred in Armenia. Armenian people expressed support for Hamas and gloated at Israel's misfortune during the October 7 attack, which, from the Armenians' perspective, is revenge for Israel's support for their Azerbaijani rival.

    Another issue straining relations is the "Armenian genocide". Israel refrains from recognizing what happened close to the First World War for various reasons, which greatly annoys the Armenians. Moreover, Israel has a very complex relationship with the Armenian Church in Israel. The State of Israel's attitude and taxation of the Armenian assets in the Old City of Jerusalem are issues of dispute for Armenia.

    Armenia has close relations with Iran. Nevertheless, there have been reports that Armenia is interested in purchasing Israeli weapon systems, especially surface-to-air missiles. This is a joint project between India and Israel aimed at providing strong air defense against aerial threats. Before Armenia recognized Palestine, the chances of Israel selling defense systems to Armenia were slim, which could have spurred Armenia to go through with its decision.

    Shmuel Merom, Israel's former non-resident ambassador to Armenia, said, "If 145 countries have already recognized Palestine, then one more won't make a difference. It's not a country the size of Spain or even Ireland. Armenia has always adopted a moderate policy towards us, even though it had good reasons to be hostile towards us. From denying the Armenian Genocide to supplying sophisticated weapons to their rival Azerbaijan. However, the recognition now is not a result of revenge towards us but more due to Iranian pressure."

    He added: "Although the Armenians do not particularly like their eastern neighbors, they are heavily economically dependent on them. Armenia is surrounded by Türkiye, Azerbaijan, and Georgia, which will not support them. Iran, on the other hand, provides them with many of their economic needs and even supported them in the first Nagorno-Karabakh war."

    And who's next to recognize Palestine? "Immediate suspects" are Malta or perhaps Belgium. In this context, it should be noted that Israel has not yet decided how to respond to the recent wave of recognition of Palestine, including by Spain, Norway, Slovenia, and Ireland. Israel is expected to respond in the coming days.

    Caliber.Az

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