It's no secret that close relations existed between Israel and the Kurds throughout most of the sixties and into the seventies, until the collapse of the Kurdish revolt in Iraq, in 1975. Ze’evi – as a young military officer – had been to Kurdistan in the 1960s and Iraqi Kurdish leader Mustafa Barzani had been to Israel. Reflective of this, the 1996 Moledet Party Platform, Chapter 9: Foreign Policy, paragraph 17, stated “Israel will act against the oppression of peoples like the Kurds...”
Israel should pro-actively support the legitimate aspirations of the oppressed minorities – the indigenous peoples – of the Middle East and North Africa, like the Kurds and Berbers, and build alliances with them. It should be a corner stone of Israeli Foreign Policy.
In 2014, PM Netanyahu said that, “It is upon us to support the Kurds’ aspiration for independence,” and called them a “fighting people that have proven political commitment and political moderation, and they’re also worthy of their own political independence.”
In August of this year, Netanyahu told a visiting delegation of 33 Republican Congressmen from the US, that he was in favor of an independent state for the Kurds, “a brave, pro-Western people who share our values.”
And again, speaking at the state memorial ceremony for Ze’evi, just recently, Netanyahu said, “The Kurds demonstrate national maturity and international maturity...We have very great sympathy for their desires and the world needs to concern itself with their safety and with their future.”
Till now, Israel has been the only country to openly support Kurdish independence, with Netanyahu last month backing “the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of its own.” But, he did not specify how and where such a state should come into being.
(c) 2017/5777 Pasko
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