Dozens of activists from the Israeli Left have petitioned the state’s Supreme Court seeking to bar the country’s security forces from training Indian police officers involved in severe violations of human rights and international law in Indian-administered Kashmir. In May, the Israeli government asked the Supreme Court to dismiss the petition, as any attempt to investigate or screen Indian police officers would be considered an intervention into India’s internal affairs – which could damage relations between the two nations.
“With this petition, we are trying our best to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir,” Israeli human rights activist Sigal Kook Avivi, who was among 40 people behind the petition, told Al Jazeera. Leading Communist Party of Israel member and Hadash MK Ofer Cassif (Joint List) told Al Jazeera that Israel’s policy of large-scale arms exports are “nothing new” – pointing to the country’s previous collaboration with the former apartheid regime in South Africa and Chile under military ruler Augusto Pinochet. “This is the most dangerous trade policy Israel has been pursuing,” Cassif said, adding that far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government are in “close relations with the most vicious leaders, such as [Rodrigo] Duterte in Philippines, [Jair] Bolsonaro in Brazil and [Narendra] Modi in India”. “This is unacceptable, morally and politically. In that sense I believe it is important to support such petitions.”
The petition was filed in January after the Israeli Police, Ministry of Internal Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs refused to pre-screen members of India’s police force from the Muslim-majority Himalayan region, according to Israeli human rights lawyer Eitay Mack, who filed the petition. As Israel returned to a second nationwide coronavirus lockdown last week, court proceedings are likely to be further delayed.
India and Israel signed a comprehensive agreement in 2014 to cooperate on issues related to “public and homeland security”. Kook Avivi said, in light of Israel’s ill-treatment of Palestinians in the occupied territories and migrants, it was vital to understand that the country’s forces training military and police abroad “ends up further hurting people around the world.”