Netanyahu says Israel has ‘great sympathy’ for Kurdish independence


( Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country has “great sympathy” for the Kurdish people’s aspirations for statehood and urged the world to look after their wellbeing.   

Ban Ki-moon, then secretary-general of the United Nations, meets with Masoud Barzani (left), president of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and Nechirvan Barzani (right), prime minister of the KRG, in March 2016 in Erbil, Iraq. Credit: U.N. Photo/Mark Garten.

At an address for a memorial ceremony honoring former Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze’evi, who was killed by Palestinian terrorists in 2001, Netanyahu spoke about Ze’evi’s secret contacts with Iraqi Kurds, including a visit to Kurdistan in the 1960s to set up an IDF field hospital.

“The visit made a deep impression on him,” Netanyahu said. “He came face to face with warm expressions of support for Israel which continue to this day.”

Netanyahu went on to say 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,” he said.

Last week, it was reported that Netanyahu had been lobbying world leaders to support the Iraqi Kurds, who are losing territory to Iraq’s government following a disputed independence referendum in late September.

Netanyahu was the only world leader to publicly endorse Kurdish statehood ahead of the referendum. Israel “supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to achieve their own state,” the prime minister said last month.

Posted on October 24, 2017 .