Israel denies blood diamond accusations


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel refuted accusations by a United Nations panel that it was involved in the blood diamond trade.

The U.N. panel on Tuesday said Israel was involved in the illegal export and sale of diamonds from the Ivory Coast. It also said the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Guinea and Liberia were not enforcing a U.N. embargo on buying the diamonds mined in the West African nation.

A blood diamond, or conflict stone, refers to a diamond mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency or warlord, usually in Africa. Civil wars in Angola, Sierra Leone and Liberia were financed largely by an underground diamond trade.

"Israel has never dealt in diamond trade with the Ivory Coast," Israel’s Diamond Controller Shmuel Mordechai said in a statement. "We are shocked by these false accusations and completely refute them."

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