A KURDISH Peshmerga soldier holds a Kurdistan flag during an intensive security deployment after clashes with Islamic State militants..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Amid the generally dismal state of affairs in the ongoing human tragedy of the Syrian upheaval, our government has at last shined Israel’s light on the Kurdish people’s struggle for independence.
In a long overdue series of diplomatic signaling, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed Kurdish independence before an audience of visiting members of the US Congress, while recently a delegation of Kurdish leaders visited Jerusalem to ask Israel’s support.
There is no doubt that Netanyahu’s diplomatic initiative – and job, too, since he is also foreign minister – makes good sense simply because it is the right thing to do. Netanyahu has consistently served Israel’s diplomacy in numerous foreign visits to establish better relations.
Israel’s coming out, diplomatically speaking, ends decades of moral inertia bordering on hypocrisy, in particular its similarly long overdue recognition of the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Ottomans, so as not to hurt the feelings of our erstwhile Turkish ally. Now it doesn’t matter what Erdogan may say.
Israel’s support comes at a critical time: A referendum on independence in the Kurdistan region of Iraq is scheduled for September 25.
Last week’s new support activity saw its debut in a meeting the prime minister held with a delegation of 33 US Republican congressmen. He told the lawmakers that he is in favor of the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in the northern Iraqi region, where it already has de facto sovereignty.
Netanyahu expressed to the group his “positive attitude” toward a Kurdish state, saying that the Kurds are a “brave, pro-Western people who share our values.”
Next followed the revelation that senior Iraqi Kurdish officials have visited Israel over the past few weeks and urged Jerusalem to both support their independence and send a message to Washington to do the same, Zionist Union MK Ksenia Svetlova told The Jerusalem Post
We disagree with the US position that now – with victory over Islamic State and an Iraqi prime minister who is having some success – is “not the time to rock the boat” with Kurdish independence. On the contrary, an independent Kurdish state would be a gift to the Middle East.
Michael Oren, deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, said that in addition to the referendum issue, Netanyahu’s remarks to the US delegation were also the result of the awareness in Jerusalem of “the rapidity with which Iran is consolidating its position in the region and Iraq, and that a Kurdish state would be one way to block it.”
This, coincidentally, is not only the right thing to do, but the right time and the right place. As far as possible repercussions that might disturb the great peace we already enjoy, it is about time that people consider another people that is no less deserving – or at least as deserving – as the Palestinians.
The moral imperative is as clear as it ever was: As a country that needed any help we could get in 1948, we have our own conscience to guide us in 2017.
Fortunately, we can now act as our own sovereign state in our national self-interest, particularly with regard to the ongoing Iranian genocidal threat to our existence. An independent Kurdistan would not only amplify Turkey’s concerns over independence yearnings among its own Kurdish population, but would also serve as a formidable obstacle to Iranian efforts to establish an Islamist crescent from Iraq to Turkey.
Given the surge of Iranian aggression across the Middle East, a sovereign Kurdish state would block the land route connecting the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism with its proxies in Syria and Lebanon. One of the most effective strategies Israel can adopt is to recognize an independent Kurdistan and fully support it – even militarily in an alliance against Iran.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander Maj.-Gen. Qasem Soleimani recently declared support for Hamas in its efforts to wipe Israel off the map. The Kurdistan region of Iraq led by President Masoud Barzani’s government will not permit Iranian shipments to terrorist groups to pass through its territory.
Just like the Jews, the Kurds passionately believe that their culture, language and historic destiny can only be realized by achieving the same rights that other nations possess.