Israeli major general says PKK not a terror group, declares support for KRG independence

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published

A senior Israeli military officer said that the PKK is not a terror organization and that he favored the establishment of a Kurdistan across Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq.

"I very much like the idea of an independent Kurdistan," said Yair Golan, a major general and the former deputy chief of the General Staff in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), in a meeting organized by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

"Well, basically, I like the Kurdish people. And you know we've had good cooperation with the Kurdish people since the early 1960s," Golan said. "And looking at the Middle East today, I would say that the only positive development concerning the destiny of the Middle East is the emergence of some sort of Kurdish entity, independent entity."

Golan made the statements during a question and answer session after delivering his lecture, which was titled, "New Thinking about Israeli National Security in a Changing Regional Environment."

""From my personal perspective the PKK is not a terrorist organisation," the Israeli general said. "I cannot portray how you bring together, if you bring together Iranian Kurds, Iraqi Kurds, Syrian Kurds and Turkish Kurds, and maybe it won't materialize in our own era."

Israeli politicians geared up their supportive statements as less than two weeks were left until the independence referendum of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), which aims to secede from the central Iraqi government.

Since the KRG announced its plan to hold the referendum, it has gained little support from the international community and instead has faced some harsh criticism.Baghdad, like Ankara and Tehran, previously claimed that the referendum is not constitutional and would create more problems for the country.

The EU also declared its support for the territorial integrity of Iraq while the U.S. and Kurdish opposition Goran Movement demanded postponement of the referendum.

Yet, only Israel openly supports the referendum and independence of the KRG.

Israeli Benjamin Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed a "positive attitude" towards an independent Kurdistan state emerging out of northern Iraq, according to a report in the Jerusalem Post on Aug. 13, when he spoke with a delegation of 33 U.S. members of Congress.

Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked on Monday also declared support for the KRG's ambition for independence and has also been encouraging the United States to support the process.

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