As a former Israeli minister, I stand in solidarity with the eco-activists protesting along the Lachin Corridor. This is because the right to a clean environment and a nation’s ability to exploit its natural resources in a clean manner is a basic human right, which is presently being denied by Armenia. For this reason, as a former Israeli Minister, I support Azerbaijan as they file an arbitration case against Armenia under the Energy Charter Treaty.
As international law clearly demonstrates, Armenia breached multiple provisions of the Energy Charter Treaty as well as other principles of international law by denying Azerbaijan access to its energy resources in Karabakh and the seven Azerbaijani districts, exploiting Azerbaijan’s energy resources for its own benefits and depriving Azerbaijan of the right to develop its energy resources during its thirty-year occupation, which occurred in violation of four UN Security Council resolutions.
This arbitration case, alongside the one that Azerbaijan put forward under the Bern Convention to prosecute Armenia for the destruction of the environment in Karabakh, clearly is an effort to support justice and reparations after Armenia essentially stole Azerbaijan’s energy resources over a period of decades. This is one of the main reasons why the Azerbaijani protesters refuse to leave the Lachin Corridor because resources are being extracted in an ecologically unsound manner and essentially sold to individuals who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity.
About a year ago, I was in Karabakh and personally witnessed the grave destruction that the Armenians caused to the environment in Karabakh. We essentially saw rivers with no fish, uprooted trees, burnt agricultural fields and other vast destruction of the nature in Karabakh. The destruction was so horrific that it was worse than what I witnessed in Southern Lebanon.
However, sadly, some individuals, such as the German Foreign Minister, refuse to understand that Armenia is the aggressor in this conflict. They blame Azerbaijan for protesting along the Lachin Corridor and blocking off traffic, referring to it as a “humanitarian disaster” and even “genocide.” As someone who grew up alongside Holocaust survivors, it is a major insult to refer to these protests as such. For starters, humanitarian aid from the Red Cross and Russian peacekeepers is being let through. Secondly, blocking off an area for protests is not the same as a blockade and most certainly a humanitarian disaster under international law. To call these protests a humanitarian disaster is like to call what happened in Jenin during the Second Intifada a massacre. Both cases are a gross misrepresentation of what truly happened.
For this reason, we Israelis must stand in solidarity with Azerbaijan and help the West to understand just as they are mistaken about what happens in Judea and Samaria, they are also wrong about what is going on along the Lachin Corridor. Azerbaijan is an ally of the State of Israel, who just sent over an ambassador. They are an Avraham Accords country in every sense of the word. For this reason, Israel must have Azerbaijan’s back and stand in solidarity with them as they pursue an arbitration case against Armenia under the Energy Charter Treaty.
The famous Holocaust scholar Elie Wiesel once said, “We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
And for this reason, I stand with Azerbaijan!