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January 31, 2012 11:41 am

How Israel Helped Sri Lanka Defeat the Tamil Tigers

avatar by Lakkana Nanayakkara

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Israeli built Kfir plane used by Sri Lankan Air Force. Photo: wikipedia.

Conflict background

In 2009 the Sri Lankan government defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), also known as the Tamil Tigers, proving that a guerilla group can be defeated on the battle field. The LTTE invented the suicide belt and pioneered the use of women in suicide attacks. It was also the only terrorist group to have an air and naval wing.

The LTTE was carrying out suicide bombings well before Hamas and Islamic Jihad carried out such attacks, while Islamic terrorist groups such as Hamas learned how to carry out suicide bombings from the LTTE.

The war against the LTTE had dragged on for more than 20 years due to corruption and incompetence of previous Sri Lankan governments, but when Mahinda Rajapaksa came to power in 2005, he set forth clear goals for defeating the LTTE.

Sri Lanka won the conflict against the LTTE primarily as a result of the following three policies:

The Sri Lanka government effectively doubled its defense budget. In the short-term this meant running large budget deficits, but longer term this made sense because if the war had dragged on, it may have bankrupted the Sri Lankan government.

The United States, European Union, Canada, India and Australia had designated the LTTE as a terrorist group, thereby cutting off foreign funding to the LTTE. At the same time, the Sri Lankan government bought weapons or received military aid from countries with divergent ideologies such as India, Pakistan, Israel, Iran, China, Russia and the United States.

The government of Mahinda Rajapaksa ignored criticism from foreign governments, NGOs and human rights organizations and there is evidence that some individuals who wanted a ceasefire were influenced by LTTE lobbying. The LTTE had previously used the tactic of using ceasefires to regroup and rearm.

Map of Sri Lanka with yellow notating LTTE controlled territory prior to Sri Lankan offensive. Photo:

The Israeli influence

Sri Lanka has substantial military ties with Israel. A large section of the Sri Lankan air force consists of Israeli aircraft such as Kfir planes purchased from the Israeli government and a significant part of the Sri Lankan navy consists of Dvora and Shaldag attack craft, which were either purchased from Israel or built under license in Sri Lanka. There were also reports of Israeli missile testing from submarines in Sri Lankan waters.

The Sri Lankan government is reluctant to publicize its military links with Israel for several reasons. Sri Lanka imports all of its oil from the Middle East and it does not want to damage its relations with Muslim countries in the region. Additionally, Muslims residing in Sri Lanka make up 8% of the population, and generally have a negative view of Israel. The current Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, is pro-Palestinian – there is even a street named after him in the West Bank.

Some Western experts believe that Israel and the US can learn from Sri Lanka on how to defeat terrorism, however Israel may not be able to replicate Sri Lanka’s success in defeating terrorism due to the following reasons:

Sri Lanka received and continues to receive comparatively little media attention, including UN criticism, compared to Israel, and Muslim countries had no interest in the Sri Lankan conflict because the LTTE were not Muslim. The Sri Lankan military were thus able to carry out operations without being constrained by external influences.

The territory that the LTTE wanted for a separate state is universally considered to be part of Sri Lanka.

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  • Aryan Patel

    tamils are more genious than jews … #sundar pichai, #abdul kalam, #indra nooyi like great people all around the world are waiting for a good moment to wage war against srilanka again..war is not yet over ..

  • Fia
  • AG

    freedom fighters? really freedom from what? there are many tamils already living in sri lanka. tamils already have the freedom in every single place in sri lanka. so what freedom you seek on?

  • AG

    not really. ltte killed muslims, so muslim countries helped sri lanka.

  • AG

    sri lanka isn’t your land, you are now in canada right? so ask a separate land from canada.

  • AG

    tamil should go back to tamil nadu. only vijaya came from india, the rest of the sinhalese were here before he came here.

  • Chris A

    Boy, you sound like a complete moron.


  • shaveen

    whatever the government says,sri lankans love israel

  • ryuzaki

    the ltte had killed many, many people in srilanka including children so how can you pin this on the military buying or not buying the ltte were annihilated they killed many sls

  • tamil

    tamils will win

    • Sinhala

      No more war! Make it in Tamil Nadu.

      • mahindas sunni

        pundai olkaama maaru

      • Tamil

        You Sinhalese go back to bloody Bengal where you come from!

        • julie

          Haters like you appreciate nothing but murder and death.Hell would be a better place for you.

    • Nalin

      You may try this on Moon

  • sam

    Also Sri Lankan government defeated LTTE with support from the senior leadership within the organization. E.g. Karuna and K.P. As we know K.P was one of the head of LTTE’s global operation and Karuna was domestic operational commander.. They cut the deal with SL Government on right time!!

  • sam

    Have you forgot that Israel trained and funded both Sri Lankan Military and the the LTTE? It was like hunger game for sri Lankan but profit by some international communities. So does the politicians in Tamilnadu which is one of the most corrupt state in south Asia above the Sri Lanka..

    • Viswarupa Vallabhapuria

      The ascendency of British in 1600AD defeating Spanish Armada is the greatest epoch of modern history. The British group is ably supported by two groups I the Irish intellegentia of Druid origin and combination of Norman Anglo Saxanism. Thus they are able to prepare plans for their hegemony for the next fifty years. When German/Dutch/Italian/Portuguese failed miserably in proselytization the Anglican/American evangelism succeeded I creating a sound intellectual group throughout Indian sub continent. The Punjabis/The mercantile class of North India irrespective of community/the Dravidian South including Srilankan Tamils are the backbone of British hegemony.Due to their Irish origin strong Puritanic catholism in the background the Americans uses all ethnic groups to their satisfaction. It is no wonder Jews are the closest allies and always reflect American interests. One month back there has been news that Israel supplied arms to Pakistan! It is no wonder both LTTE/SriLankan Tamils would have been trained by Jews. Simply by sporting Tiger LTTE cannot become Cholas. The later day historians will consider Rajiv’s assassination at Sriperumpudur as reenactment of betrayal by Ganga king Bhutuga in favour of Krishna II at Takkolam against Rajaditya which is just twenty five km north of Sriperumpudur.Cholas were the only kings who faced battlefield straight though they indulged in brutal ravage of other kingdoms. Hence demonizing Srilankans cannot result in identifying with Cholas. Further Cholas always faced combination of all hostile kingdoms unlike LTTE who were ruthless betrayers getting arms from Smt.Indira Gandhi/MGR ridiculing Karunanidhi when hobnobbing with MGR. Even now there will be simultaneous supply of arms to Srilanka and Tamil splinter groups.

  • lol

    Well Said Rajkumar. To hell with SL Sinhala Terrorits!

  • sarath

    oh .. I thought sri lanka army individually defeated the LTTE , but its by begging on other countries .. shame shame ..

    • nilan

      shame shame ? do you know what you talking about ?

    • suja

      They borrowed weapons no one actually fought sri lanka induvidually did

      • Fia

        The IPKF was a belligerent on the side of the Sri Lankan state.

  • UN council of nations

    It is good that the tamil tigers were defeated! However what the sinhalese people are not telling on this forum is that they were a 200,000 civilians also killed due to the sinhalese government! The UN has concluded as of last year that this was partial war and partial genocide!

  • UN council

    It is good that the tamil tigers were defeated! However what the sinhalese people are not telling on this forum is that they were a 100,000 civilians also killed due to the sinhalese government! The UN has concluded as of last year that this was partial war and partial genocide!

  • prabudda

    Mr.Jacob and Rajesh.
    please wake up from your dream. you’ll never see so called eelam. Since dreams meant to be a dream. Not in reality. Rest in peace big dog 🙂

  • jacob

    dear all,
    defeat is not the end. tamils are living all over the world. we will fight again, we lost a brave heart. he is not dead, he is seeded deep into our hearts.

    we will claim our land wait and watch .

  • Rajesh kumar(tamilnadu)

    rajapakshe has no dare to fight with the ltte leader even with his younger son
    indian prime minister is playing a game on both sides for tamil pepole in india and
    slk govt.the congress govt in the india is the main fire sparker for starting the eelam on srilanka in 1990’s starting.bcase rajiv gandhi signed for peace in lanka.
    but the really wat happend is indian military joined with the sla army to
    kill tamil pepole. from that day onwards till nw the tamilnadu fishermen
    were still attacked by SLA because of congress govt present in india as a

  • cessch
  • the isreali govt. is an oppressive regime just like ma ra. no western govt can do what gosl did cuz without committing war crimes the result would never have been achived.

    see the above web site for the truth.

    • Some low i.q. jerk jew hater said the Israeli govt is an oppressive regime.The only country in all of the mid-east with democracy is in Israel.People who live in the Gaza strip are to afraid to have criticism of Hamas because that they know of what punishment awaits them.You cannot even bring a CHRISTIAN bible into a Muslim country.

  • saman

    sri lankan government may take side with muslim countries to pacify the muslim lobby in sri lanka but true sinhalese wholeheartedly support israel

    • Rajah

      The muslims in Sri-Lanka are the 3rd largest ethnic group but cannot swing the vote either way for a majority government, so why does the Sri-Lankan government need to support muslim countries to pacify them? If such is the case, why not support Tamil Eelam to pacify the tamils in Sri-Lanka, the 2nd largest ethnic group? Why did Sri-Lanka support Pakistan in the 1971 war over India, which has the largest concentration of tamils against the wishes of the tamil lobby in Sri-Lanka?
      Sri-Lanka supports muslim countries because of their vote at the UN.
      Moreover, what use is it to “wholeheartedly support Israel” in words like what you have stated while the deeds of Sri-Lanka are the opposite? The Sri-Lankan president was unwavering in his call for establishment of Palestine at the last UN session.

    • Jason


      Whatever the government politicians do, Sinhalese will forever love Jews and be very grateful. Politicians forget gratefulness but not people.

    • Donster

      Extremists of both Tamils and Muslims are alike they are blood thirsty and considers other religions and races as infidels. Don’t want to live in harmony.

  • ellyn

    just printed in daily mirror
    In May 2009, Israel called for a combined UN and World Health Organisation (WHO) team to investigate the conduct of the Sri Lankan security forces during the war. The call came on May 18 during a meeting of the World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva at the WHO headquarters.

    Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva was elected as Chairman of the WHA despite opposition from Israel over alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. Israel also criticised Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council sessions held on May 26 and 27, 2009. (Ayesha Zuhair)

  • ellyn

    Just another attempt to blame Israel for most of the woes in the world. Typical of the inability for countries and ethnic groups to take responsibility for thier own actions. Lets blame the Jews.. it does get ridiculous after awhile. As far as Israel arming the GOSl. shame on them for picking the wrong side .. but guess what that is what the arms trade is all about. Everyone selling guns to kill to the highest bidder! By the way Israel trained the Tamil Tigers too.

    • Ellyn, You may be right or wrong.. There is no proof that Israel train LTTE. But for sure, it did lot to the Srilankan Government to Kill the Tamils. Neverthless, just like the Jews the Tamils also spread across the world. But it was blashmy of the Israel crying foul in the UN to call for Investigations after all it did the best to kill and wipeout the Tamils. It is a Shame on all the COUNTRY Which waged a PROXY WAR against the Tamils. If the Tamils were terrorists, then Every country in the world once in the life time of the History are Terrorists as every country fought for their freedom from their rulers, were called as Terroris by the rulers.

      • shan

        There is a place called Tamil Nadu in the south of India.. Which means ‘the tamil village’ where 60 million tamils live.. and this giant is very close to sri lanka.. a population that has a mere 15 million sinhala, and mixture of Tamils,muslims, Bugher(euroasian descent).. so to say that the tamils are a scattered is false.. and their traditional home still eist and funded terrorism in sri lanka.. Just like israel we a tiny race on earth surrounded by a large tamil nation and yes many tamils have gone to other nations for ECONOMIC reasons, and also influence against us.. David vs Goliath.. and It was the than PLO and lebenese groups who trained the LTTE in the Early 70’s to the 80’s.

      • Donster

        Most of the Tamils are cry foul only when its suits them. They are trying to fool international community with their false accusations only to claim asylem in western countries. They get exactly same status as every other Sri Lankan but still wants more. Israel did the correct thing by supporting GOSL. Long live Sri Lanka and Israel !

      • Webster

        tamil tamil tamil…mil mil…is this the only word u have in ur mouth? u idiot…come outta the box and think as people….u r living with some repressive minds fools!! when r u gonna see the daylight? anyways to my knowledge tamils did have problems and it can only be answered thru political negotiations…and ltte was a different thing…a terrorist group which was answered nicely by the SL military…u better become part of SL…part of main stream politics…part of mainstream life of SL…then ur fever of ‘tamil tamil mil mil’ will be cured…coz last time when i visited SL…tamils n sinhalese were the co-owners of large bizs and i saw many inter-faiths marriages even…they dont have ‘tamil tamil mil mil’ fever …

  • pol sambola

    Thank you Israel.
    You’ve been an honest true friend to our tiny and vulnerable island.
    We now face the wrath of Muslim expansionism in Sri Lanka and feel desperate due to unscrupulous land purchases from oil-money pumped in to mosques/masjids.
    Hope relationship between our countries will prosper as we surely will need good friends to sort this problem.

    • Rajah

      Is that why the President of Sri-Lanka called for the establishment of Palestine at the last UN session? To show his gratitude to Israel?

  • Gemunu Wirasinghe

    We should be ever thankful to the Israeli government for their contribution in defeating terrorism in Sri Lanka. It is also our duty to support Israel in their war against Palestinian and other Islamic terrorists.

  • Chameera

    Very good article indeed. People can fight for their rights but not through terrorism. No one has ever won by terrorist activities.

    • Rajah

      Subhas Chandra Bose who founded the Indian National Army was a designated terrorist of the British Empire. His organization was involved in numerous bombings across India that targeted the British but also killed bystanders. Bhagat Singh, another Indian independence hero and “Freedom Fighter”, bombed the Central Legislative Assembly and carried out assassinations targeting British police officers. Both Bose and Singh are considered “freedom fighters” and “revolutionaries” who won freedom for India by India and Sri-Lanka yet they label the Tigers as “terrorists”. Talk about double-standards. Nelson Mandela also engaged in bombings and violence, and contrary to popular thought, never, ever claimed to have taken the option of winning freedom through the use of arms off the table. Mandela and the ANC were also labelled terrorists by just as many countries that labelled the Tigers as terrorists.

      • Jason

        India helped Tamil Tigers.

      • Well said Raja. The Lankanas are considered to be cunning. Where as Tamils are brave and Knowledgable. Cunning foxes always win but the truth remains that It will not last long. The Fate is Israel supported Srilanka. Israel itself a country was formed after 1947. Just like the Tamils spread allover the world, The Jews were before 1947. But now with the help of th UN They got their land. Alas to the Tamil who fall in the similar Category, did not get that status. But we will win

        • Sinhalaya

          Bahaha. Yes, a very brave lot.. Yeah, let’s follow the Tamil Tiger lead and send young women to blow themselves up and kill as many innocent civilians as possible. Forcibly recruit child soldiers. Make bogus histories, tell yourselves lies so often you believe it yourselves. Sinhala people were in Lanka and developed it before Tamils invaded the north and east and entrenched themselves thanks to the western colonialists. You apologists for the LTTE and other terrorist separatists are the cunning foxes, telling your fake sob stories and bribing all the western organisations with your blood money. You’ll never establish your racist monoethnic state in Lanka. Sri Lanka will always be home to Sinhalese and our brethren from the minorities who live with us in peace and good will.

        • all the mad people who discussing this matter tamils and muslims in sri lanka are not supporting to the gosl with there heart always they living with tamilnadu or Arabic country.s cheating the Sinhala majority without no doubt if its happened in some other country think in balance mind

      • karma

        truly tamil tigers r freedom fighters

        • shanilka

          he he poor tamil tigers.if u fought for freedom why did you kill that much of future tamils are prohibited sri lanka.sometimes you will say our army has n power but we know the truh of our military.when there is a war going you will see our hidden secrets.

          • Really, the happenings is corporates just want to sale their products I.e., medicines to missile, the had great game in vietnam and so on lanka., they had used the curiosity of locals., we are all always forget to think in the third dimension and become anger to givesupport for our sides., at another angle if singhalse just think the history of your’s and accept the truth, pblm will be solved so many years ago., beyond victory, gain is nothing was there for both the sides so many lifes and economical losses just think to make lanka green not again red.there are so many prabhakaran’ s and paksha’ s are there let them to go on their way as friends not enemies.please stop terror statements just think to live with peace, wisdom and knowledge