Alanba, Kuwait, August 2
“The global diamond trade has long been closely scrutinized by international organizations and multinational agencies, due to its potential to spark, perpetuate and fund conflicts. What has gone less noticed, however, is Israel’s involvement in the trade of diamonds, which is often carried out illegally and in violation of international law.
“Israel is one of the largest importers and exporters of diamonds in the world. It buys most of its diamonds from African countries such as Liberia, Congo and South Africa, and then sells the vast majority of the processed product to European and Asian markets. In fact, according to some reports, roughly 30% of Israel’s gross national income comes from these sales.
“Jews in Europe were known to make a living from the sale of diamonds and silver and many brought these professions with them when they immigrated to British Mandate Palestine. Following its independence, Israel maintained close ties with South Africa’s apartheid regime, which allowed the young state to develop a competitive advantage over other diamond traders around the world whose governments boycotted South Africa.
“In recent years, Israel has started leveraging its connections in Africa to enhance its arms sales in the region. Instead of buying diamonds with cash, Israeli traders now provide weapon systems and armaments to corrupt African dictators in return for mining rights in their countries. These weapons have been used to fuel wars, resulting in the death of hundreds of civilians. It is possible that without Israel’s intervention in Africa, the phenomenon of child soldiers wouldn’t have become so prevalent in the war-torn continent.
“To make matters worse, proceeds from these sales have also been used to enhance Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. Many of Israel’s leading diamond traders, such as Lev Lebieb, invested massive amounts of resources in Jewish Jerusalem and towards the displacement of Palestinians. Israel continues to maintain these practices not only because of its disrespect for international law, but also because it isn’t being held accountable. It is fueling war and sectarian conflict in an effort to enhance its own economic gains and continue the displacement of the Palestinian people. This is a double evil that must be stopped.” – Hassan al-Aasi