Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy hosted round table discussion on Armenia’s ecological terrorism

Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy hosted round table discussion on Armenia’s ecological terrorism


By Rachel Avraham

On January 30, 2023, about 30 people gathered to participate in a round table discussion on Armenia’s ecological terrorism in the Karabakh region at Netanya’s Park Hotel, the very same hotel where Palestinians massacred thirty Israeli civilians at a Passover Seder during the height of the Second Intifada. The event opened up with Rachel Avraham lighting two candles, one in the memory of the Azerbaijani security staff member who was murdered by the Iranian regime during the terror attack targeting the Azerbaijani Embassy in Tehran and the second one in the memory of the seven civilians who were killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem.

Both terror attacks occurred on International Holocaust Memorial Day and both terror attacks were supported by the mullahs in Tehran. Israelis and members of the Azerbaijani Diaspora held a moment of silence in honor of the victims of both terror attacks. At the opening of the event, Rachel Avraham, CEO of the Dona Gracia Center for Diplomacy, declared: “Iran is one of the greatest state sponsors of terrorism. They wantonly attacked the Azerbaijani Embassy because they are opening up a new embassy here in Tel Aviv. Because of that, a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards went there and wanted to kill everyone inside of the Azerbaijani Embassy on International Holocaust Memorial Day, just because they wanted to have good relations with Israel. On the same day, a Palestinian terrorist slaughtered seven people in Jerusalem as they were leaving Friday night prayers. Iran came out with a statement saying that the terrorists were ‘martyrs” and it was an ‘act of resistance.’”

She continued: “Of course, according to the Iranians, the Holocaust is a myth. They claim that the Holocaust never happened, but they encourage the Palestinians to kill Jews on International Holocaust Memorial Day and they also attacked innocent Azerbaijanis. And the only reason why more damage was not done was thanks to the Azerbaijani Security Forces. You might wonder, why am I discussing this? I am speaking about this because Iran does not act alone. Iran has proxies and one of their proxies in Armenia. They all of the time use Armenia to bypass the sanctions. They were complicit in Armenia’s war crimes in the Karabakh region. I was in Aghdam last year. I basically witnessed how the Armenians transformed a vibrant city into a ghost town and sold everything to the Iranians. We saw when we were in Shusha how they transformed Azerbaijani mosques into Iranian Mosques or destroyed them. So, Iran is very complicit in Armenia’s war crimes.”

Afterwards, Avraham discussed Armenia’s ecological terrorism, stressing that it is just as grave as slaughtering people in terror attacks: “In 2020, Armenian settlers as they withdrew from Karabakh and the seven Azerbaijani districts committed ecological terrorism of a similar magnitude to Hamas by burning down the homes of internally displaced Azerbaijani refugees, burning down agricultural fields, slaughtering cattle, cutting down trees, looting holy sites such as the ancient Caucasian Albanian Khudavang Monastery which belongs to Azerbaijan and robbing the area of cultural treasures. They did this to make the region uninhabitable for Azerbaijani internationally displaced refugees who wish to return to their homes that they were forcefully expelled from in the 1990’s. In fact, as Azerbaijan took over additional areas in the context of the peace agreement, the Armenian environmental terrorism that systematically left the region in ruins is blatantly there for all to see.”

Avraham discussed Azerbaijan’s desire to sue Armenia for war crimes, as well as the ongoing environmental protests along the Lachin Corridor, Russia’s being complicit in Armenia’s theft of Azerbaijan’s natural treasures, and the fact that Azerbaijani environmental monitors were denied access to the area. She also discussed how Armenia has been misleading the world regarding what is happening on the ground: “How the Armenians have been portraying what is happening at these environmental protests has an uncanny resemblance to Pallywood coverage. In reality, the Armenians are violating the Ten Commandments, which clearly bar theft and robbery. They are literally stealing Azerbaijan’s natural resources and destroying the planet in the process. And thus, Armenian ecoterrorism must end and justice for the Azerbaijani victims must be obtained with the help of the Jewish community.”

Afterwards, David Bedein, CEO of the Center for Near East Policy Research, discussed parallels between Armenian and Palestinian terrorism. He accused Russia of being involved with Armenia’s ecoterrorism and playing a key role in the exploitation of Azerbaijan’s natural resources in the Karabakh region. Bedein claimed that the KGB also played a role in radicalizing the Palestinians and transforming them into a major terror threat. He also claimed that environmental terrorism is just as bad as any other kind of terrorism: “The whole point is to destroy something.”

Then, Raphael Nabizade, an Azerbaijani youth leader and a graduate student at Tel Aviv University, started out his speech by condemning Iran’s attack on the Azerbaijani Embassy: “Attacks on diplomatic missions is unacceptable. I also condemn the terror attack in Jerusalem. My condolences go to the victims. Two months have passed since the Azerbaijani eco-activists started to protest in Karabakh.” He blamed the Russian peacekeepers and them being complicit in Armenia’s ecological terrorism for the current protests, and discussed the history of Armenia’s ecological terrorism in the region: “They completely destroyed Karabakh and ruined everything over their thirty year occupation. Armenia’s aggression significantly destroyed the environment in the South Caucuses. In fact, they burned forest, polluted rivers and destroyed fauna, and engaged in illegal exploitation of resources, which caused much damage.”

According to him, “They have pocketed millions of dollars by squandering Azerbaijan’s natural resources in Karabakh in cooperation with the Russia. For this reason, the Azerbaijani public has decided to say enough was enough. A group of activists decided to protest. It is unfair to call this a blockade. Russian peacekeepers pass through and bring in humanitarian side. Calling it a blockade is just another anti-Azerbaijani show. Armenians think that they will achieve something by using this against us, but it won’t work for we have legitimate demands. The young people protesting are right and demand their rights. They stay there protesting in the bitter cold. But the Armenians are spreading false information to the world.”

Noam Ezer, an Israeli youth leader and graduate student at Bar Ilan University, discussed why Israeli youth should support the Azerbaijani youth protesting at the Lachin Corridor: “Israel and Azerbaijan have been good relations since the 1990’s. They have saved the Israeli Embassy many time from Iranian attacks. We have good security cooperation on Iran. We have achieved respectable results from a security point of view. Furthermore, 40% of the oil in Israel is imported from Azerbaijan. Israel also sells weapons to Azerbaijan. When I see the relationship between the countries, I do not see it as something trivial that Israel would have such a relationship with a Shia Muslim country.” He noted that Jewish communities across the Muslim world have been destroyed since Israel was established, but not in Azerbaijan: “The Jewish-Muslim connection in Azerbaijan should be appreciated, who prove that it is possible to live in peace with people of different faiths. As someone whose family immigrated from the Islamic world, this is something that should not be taken for granted. Therefore, we should support the Azerbaijani people in their struggle against the Armenian ecoterrorism.”

Ezer noted that the arson attacks that the Armenians implemented have an uncanny resemblance to what Hamas has done to Israel: “It will take the environment there years to recover. The Armenians used weapons that caused fires that it is difficult to control. White phosphorous is an ecological weapon. An Israeli who sees what the Armenians did to Karabakh will view it like what Hamas did to Gaza. I see what the Azerbaijanis and Israelis are suffering. Therefore, we have to stand by each other. Just as many countries do not understand the Israeli side, the same thing is with Azerbaijan. As Israelis, we understand what the world does not understand your side. This is why we must cooperate and support each other.”

Victor Zi, a prominent Israeli photographer, concluded by discussing Azerbaijan’s rich ecology: “Azerbaijan is an amazing country. The synagogues, the mosques, and modern architecture and old architecture I love. But it is not only architecture. The beauty is very important to the Azerbaijani people. The nature, the views, the landscape is very important. Everything should be done in order to maintain it and keep it as it. You want your home to look nice. The nature, the colors, the light is amazing. Azerbaijan is not only dessert. There is also greenery, red and many other diversity in the nature. Whoever does something to ruin it is not my friend. The most amazing thing in Azerbaijan is its people. They are always nice and always cooperate. We were welcomed into the market and people told us their stories. They really loved us. If we speak about the future, the nature is the future. We met the younger generation and they gave us a lot of good vibes and hope for the future.”

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