Netanyahu: World should take care of Kurds' future

PM reiterates Israel's support for Kurdish independence, says international community should look out for Kurds.


Binyamin Netanyahu
Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday said Israel had "great sympathy" for Kurdish aspirations and that the world should concern itself with their well-being.

Netanyahu was speaking at a memorial ceremony for former Israeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi, known as 'Ghandi,' who was assassinated by Palestinian Arab terrorists in Jerusalem in 2001.

Zeevi, he said, went on a secret mission Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region in the 1960s and supervised the setting up of an Israeli army field hospital there.

"The visit made a deep impression on him," Netanyahu's office quoted him as saying in Hebrew.

"He came face to face with warm expressions of support for Israel which continue to this day.

"The Kurds demonstrate national maturity and international maturity," said the Israeli leader.

"We have very great sympathy for their desires and the world needs to concern itself with their safety and with their future."

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."

He did not specify how and where such a state should come into being.

The Parliament in Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region decided Tuesday to postpone planned legislative elections for eight months amid tensions with the central government in Baghdad over disputed territories.

The elections were originally set for just over a month after a September 25 referendum in the Kurdish areas which resulted in a massive "yes" for independence.

The non-binding referendum was strongly opposed by Baghdad.

The United States, a key ally of both Baghdad and Kurdish forces in the battle against the Islamic State group, also opposed it as did Iraq's neighbors Iran and Turkey.