Netanyahu bars Israeli government comments on Kurdish Referendum “too sensitive”


barzaninin -netanyahuJERUSALEM (Reuters) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu barred Israeli government comment on Monday’s Kurdish independence referendum in Iraq, two officials said, after his Sept. 13 endorsement of Kurdish statehood irked Turkey.

The plebiscite was held despite objections from the United States and Turkey, a regional power whose ties with Israel have long been troubled. The autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has also voiced misgivings about overt Israeli backing.

Asked to comment on the referendum, one Israeli cabinet minister declined, telling Reuters on condition of anonymity: “Bibi (Netanyahu) asked us not to.” A second Israeli official confirmed the order, saying the subject was “too sensitive”.

 Netanyahu’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

Israel has maintained discreet military, intelligence and business ties with Kurds since the 1960s, viewing the minority ethnic group – whose indigenous population is split among Iraq, Turkey, Syria and Iran – as a buffer against shared adversaries. Israel also has a sizeable Kurdish Jewish immigrant community.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu react as he arrives to attend the General Assembly. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid

Israel has backed Kurdish independence in the past – most recently in the Sept. 13 statement by Netanyahu.

Centrist Israeli lawmaker Yair Lapid, a former minister in Netanyahu’s conservative coalition, tweeted on Monday: “The Jewish people know what it is to struggle for a homeland. The Kurds have a moral right to a state of their own. I wish them luck today.”

But Kurdish officials said such rhetoric is unsolicited and damaging. ”Our adversaries attack us as a ‘second Israel in the region’ and this kind of Israeli talk contributes to that,” one Kurdish official told Reuters.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday Netanyahu’s position on the Kurds affected Ankara’s relations with Israel.

Speaking in Istanbul, Erdogan said that while visiting New York for the U.N. General Assembly he met U.S. Jewish leaders who had quoted Netanyahu as describing Israeli-Turkish ties as “not going well”.

“How could that be? There is no one recognizing the KRG (referendum decision) except him. We are in a different position,” Erdogan said.




2 responses to “Netanyahu bars Israeli government comments on Kurdish Referendum “too sensitive””

  1. Hind Abyad Avatar

    Lets hush Invasion of Irak
    ‘The War on Iraq: Conceived in Israel’
    Is there any evidence that Israel and her supporters have managed to get the United States to fight for their interests?

    “It was during the 1980s, with the coming to power of the right-wing Likud government, that the idea of expulsion resurfaced publicly. And this time it was directly tied to a larger war, with destabilization of the Middle East seen as a precondition for Palestinian expulsion. Such a proposal, including removal of the Palestinian population, was outlined in an article by Oded Yinon, titled;

    “A Strategy for Israel in the 1980s,” appearing in the World Zionist Organization’s periodical Kivunim in February 1982. Yinon had been attached to the Israeli Foreign Ministry and his article undoubtedly reflected high-level thinking in the Israeli military and intelligence establishment. The article called for Israel to bring about the dissolution and fragmentation of the Arab states into a mosaic of ethnic groupings. Thinking along those lines, Ariel Sharon stated on March 24, 1988, that if the Palestinian uprising continued, Israel would have to make war on her Arab neighbors. The war, he stated, would provide “the circumstances” for the removal of the entire Palestinian population from the West Bank and Gaza and even from inside Israel proper.(..)

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