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20 Nov, 2008 09:39

‘Israel sells arms to its own enemies’ – newspaper

‘Israel sells arms to its own enemies’ – newspaper

Israeli weapon trading companies had been holding negotiations and selling arms to a whole row of Arab countries defined as ‘enemies’ by Israeli law – such as Iraq, Libya and Yemen. Moreover, the move was coordinated and approved by the country

Connected to this is a decision by a Tel Aviv district court to close a criminal case launched in 2006 against Shlomi Michaels, whose Kurdistan Organisation for Downstream Operations (KODO) was suspected of selling arms to Kurdish militants in Iraq. Israeli Attorney General Menahem Mazuz approved the court’s decision to close the case against Michaels, Haaretz points out.

Michaels, a former member of Israel’s elite Yamam police unit, emigrated to the U.S. and established KODO there. He is known as one of the main partners of Kurdish authorities. The investigation started after information appeared that KODO was supplying Israeli-made defence equipment and providing military instruction services to Kurds in northern Iraq. Moreover, Danny Yatom, the former head of Mossad, Israel’s national security service, was a co-owner of KODO.

The investigation against him, though, was senseless, a police representative said, as Yatom broke off his relations with KODO in 2002 when he became a member of the Knesset, Israel's legislative body, which was before KODO started its negotiations with Iraq.

It was first suspected that KODO hadn’t the necessary permits from Israel’s Defence Ministry, but it turned out that then Defence Ministry Director-General Amos Yaron had given his verbal approval.

The daily also says the Ministry of Defence permitted Israeli companies to sell bulletproof vests to Libya and weapons to Yemen – both Israel’s official enemies.

The conflict between Israel and these Arab countries dates back to the First Arab-Israel War in 1948-49 when Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Transjordan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen attempted to annihilate the newly-formed Israeli state.