JERUSALEM (Reuters) – The Israeli ambassador was mistaken to have sent a “GOODLUCK” message to Myanmar ahead of World Court hearings on accusations the state committed genocide against Rohingya Muslims, Israel’s foreign ministry said on Thursday.
Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that the ambassador to Myanmar wished authorities good luck in tweets that have since been deleted ahead of the hearings next month at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.
“The ambassador’s tweet was a mistake and was immediately amended,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“Israel forthrightly condemns the atrocities perpetrated against the Rohingya in the Rakhine region. Israel voted, a week ago, in favour of a U.N. resolution condemning the atrocities.”
More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since a 2017 crackdown by Myanmar’s military, which U.N. investigators say was carried out with “genocidal intent”. Buddhist majority Myanmar denies accusations of genocide.
Myanmar’s de facto leader, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, will lead a delegation to defend against accusations brought at the ICJ by Gambia, which has the backing of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
Ronen Gilor, Israel’s ambassador to Myanmar, had tweeted “Encouragement for a good verdict and good luck!” in one post, Haaretz reported with a screengrab of the since deleted tweet.
Another tweet said: “State Counsellor going to respond for Myanmar in the ICJ! GOODLUCK!”
Western countries have widely condemned Myanmar’s actions in Rakhine state while China has offered support for what it terms Myanmar’s efforts to preserve domestic stability.
(This story corrects to “U.N. resolution” from “U.S. resolution” in paragraph 4).
(Reporting by Dan Williams; Writing by Matthew Tostevin; editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)