Israeli lawyers and human rights activists have petitioned the supreme court for the country’s security forces to block the training of Indian police officers involved in “severe violations” of human rights and international law in Indian-administered Kashmir.
Singed by 40 people, the petition was launched after Israel Police, the 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 which has been subjected to a brutal military crackdown by the right-wing Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Despite the brutal crackdown, which has seen more than half a million Indian forces deployed in occupied Kashmir – home to some 12 million people – to quell a decades-old rebellion against Indian rule, Israel has deepened ties with the Modi government with arms sales to New Delhi increasing exponentially. India is the largest buyer of Israeli arms, receiving nearly 50 per cent of all Israeli arms exports between 2013-2017.
Speaking a few days ago to Al Jazeera about the initiative, Israeli human rights activist Sigal Kook Avivi, one of the signatories said: “With this petition, we are trying our best to show solidarity with the people of Kashmir.”
Avivi, who has worked among African asylum seekers in Israel, expressed solidarity with the people of occupied Kashmir saying: “As citizens of the world, we want to say we know what is happening to you, we are not ignorant … we see it, we hear it, we know it.”
The petition stated: “The fact that India is ‘the largest democracy in the world’, and is an important political and economic partner of the state of Israel and Western countries, cannot legally and morally justify providing assistance to specific Indian officers who are involved in grave crimes under international law in Kashmir, by way of training by police in Israel.”
Dismissing Israel Police and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claim that pre-screening police officers participating in the training is not practical, Israeli human rights lawyer, Eitay Mack, explained in an article earlier this month that pre-screening can be carried out easily.