Netanyahu: Israel supports Kurdish statehood, rejects PKK terrorism

Israel supports the “legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of its own,” but rejects the acts of terrorism committed by PKK activists.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that Israel “supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of its own,” but rejects the PKK’s acts of terrorism committed in the name of Kurdish statehood.

Netanyahu’s office released the dramatic statement on Tuesday during the premier’s historic trip to Latin America.

In a direct jab at Turkey, which has been the target of the PKK’s attacks, the statement said that “Israel rejects the PKK and considers it a terrorist organization, as opposed to Turkey, which supports the terror organization Hamas.”

“While Israel rejects terror in any form, it supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of its own,” the statement said.

The PKK, or Kurdistan Workers’ Party, has been engaged for 32 years in an armed conflict against Turkey for cultural and political rights and self-determination for the Kurdish people.

More than 600 Turkish security personnel and thousands of PKK fighters have been killed since the ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurdish group failed in 2015 and the hostilities resumed. Human rights groups say hundreds of civilians have also been killed.

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Turkey and its allies consider the PKK a terror organization.

Greater Kurdistan includes all four parts of the Kurdish homeland divided among four Middle Eastern countries—Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey.

In August, 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.

The Kurds and Israel do not have official relations but have enjoyed friendly ties. “Israel has been the only state to have publicly voiced its support for Kurdish statehood in northern Iraq,” Kurdish broadcaster Kurdistan 24 reported last month.

Former Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar observed 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.”

By: World Israel News Staff