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August 14, 2017 4:51 pm

Kurdish Media Highlights Israeli Support for Independence Drive as Iran Fumes

avatar by Ben Cohen

Waving Kurdish and Israeli flags, Israelis demonstrate in solidarity with Iraqi Kurds in Tel Aviv in 2015. Photo: Twitter

Kurdish media outlets reported favorably on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s support for Kurdish independence on Monday, highlighting the fact that his position is shared by several other leading Israeli officials.

Last week, Netanyahu told a delegation of 33 Republican Congressmen visiting Israel that the Kurds are “brave, pro-Western people who share our values,” expressing support for an independent Kurdish state. On September 25, voters in the Kurdistan region of Iraq will cast their ballots in a long-awaited independence referendum.

Broadcaster Kurdistan 24 noted that “Netanyahu’s support differs from the usual US administration’s position, which supports a united Iraq, also known as the ‘one-Iraq’ policy.”

“Israel has been the only state to have publicly voiced its support for Kurdish statehood in northern Iraq,” the report said.

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“Netanyahu is not the only Israeli official to express support for the Kurds in Iraq as others have also highlighted the cause,” the report continued. “Former Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had previously called upon the international community to help the Kurds in the fight against Islamic State (IS).”

The Kurdistan 24 report added, “Last year, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked stated, ‘We [the State of Israel] must openly call for the establishment of a Kurdish state that separates Iran from Turkey, one which will be friendly toward Israel. The Kurds are politically moderate, have proven they can be politically committed, and are worthy of statehood.”

The report noted that in a meeting with former US President Barack Obama in 2014, the late former President and Prime Minister of Israel Shimon Peres had advised the US to support the creation of a Kurdish state.

Also quoted was former Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s observation that, “We Jews, like the Kurds, are a minority in the Middle East. Kurds have proven themselves over decades to be a reliable strategic partner for us.”

Kurdish news site Rudaw observed that “The Kurdistan Region and Israel do not have official relations but have enjoyed friendly ties.”

Rudaw pointed out that “the Kurdish Jewish Community (KJC) says Jews around the world welcomed the decision to hold a referendum on independence.” It quoted a June statement from the KJC calling on “all the political parties and social groups to put an end for suppression, mass atrocities, displacement, occupation, destroying civilization, history, and our existence, and for the sake of our future generations to serve humanity and live in a peaceful society, let altogether vote and say (YES) for independence of Kurdistan.”

Iranian media outlets seized on Netanyahu’s comments as buttressing the claim made by the speaker of the Tehran regime’s parliament that Israel wants to sow chaos in Iraq.

“The Zionist regime seeks Iraq’s disintegration,” Ali Larijani alleged during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Tehran on June 21. Larijani and other Iranian officials have also accused Israel of supporting ISIS.

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