Netanyahu: World must take care of Kurds’ future
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Netanyahu: World must take care of Kurds’ future

Praising Kurdish aspirations for independence, PM says Israel has 'great sympathy for their desires'

An Iraqi Kurdish man holds a picture frame with portraits of Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R), and Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani during a demonstration outside the UN Office in Irbil, the capital of the autonomous region, on October 21, 2017. (AFP Photo/Safin Hamed)
An Iraqi Kurdish man holds a picture frame with portraits of Russian President Vladimir Putin (L), Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R), and Iraqi Kurdistan President Massoud Barzani during a demonstration outside the UN Office in Irbil, the capital of the autonomous region, on October 21, 2017. (AFP Photo/Safin Hamed)

Prime Minister Benjamin 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 far-right Israeli tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi, who was assassinated by Palestinian terrorists in Jerusalem in 2001.

Ze’evi, 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.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends a memorial for the late former minister Rehavam ‘Gandhi’ Ze’evi at the Knesset on October 24, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

“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 prime minister.

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

Tourism minister Rehavam Ze'evi, assassinated by the PFLP in 2001 (photo credit: Flash90)
Slain tourism minister Rehavam Ze’evi, assassinated by the PFLP in 2001. (Flash90)

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.

A picture taken on October 21, 2017, shows a man holding an Israeli flag alongside the flag of Iraqi Kurdistan during a demonstration outside the UN Office in Irbil, the capital of the autonomous region.(AFP Photo/Safin Hamed)

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.

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