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Op-Ed: Israel supports Kurdistan’s independence, but what’s next?

Kurdish writer Chiman Salih expresses her gratitude to Israel for supporting her people’s rights to hold an independence referendum last week. However, now that it has been concluded that most Kurds voted in favor of independence, she is asking what can Israel do next to help her people.
Israeli flag waved during an independence rally Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

Israel was the first and only country in the world that endorsed Iraqi Kurdistan’s rights to hold the independence referendum last week, a move by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that did not go unnoticed by the Kurds. Many Kurds have thanked the prime minister and spoken about how must they appreciate the Israeli support. However, now we have to ask what should be done after this endorsement given the Iraqi blockade on the Kurdistan Region. The international community is standing idle. What can the self-announced supporter of Iraqi Kurdistan’s independence do to help?

Had the clear majority of the Kurdistan people not voted “yes,” I wouldn't be searching for the answer to this question, but now the question needs to be asked. There are millions in need of friends to help them because of the concerning threats of their enemies, who are outspokenly opposed to the idea of Kurdish independence.

Some believe that the Israeli support might worsen the situation for the Kurdistan region because it could trigger some Arab and Muslim states in the region to react. There are three main reasons why I disagree with those who say Israel should have been silent and not announced its support for Kurdistan. First, those who might be provoked by Israel’s statement had already decided not to support Kurdistan’s independence and would never change their position regardless of Israel’s stance on the matter.

Second, while most of the Arab nations have economic and commercial ties with Israel and benefit from them a lot, they pretend that they are against Israel in order to stock their people’s hatred and gain support. The worst part is that these countries are also using the Kurds in the same way. Many Arab leaders often call Kurdistan a “Second Israel” in order to distract their people’s attention from their authoritarianism.

Finally, let’s talk about how politics have extremely worsened in the world to the point that human beings and communities should be afraid about their life and future. While this situation of political malpractice has many reasons in my view, I can connect one of them to the fact that many countries are not being transparent about main issues. However, Israel is being transparent, making the world a better place for us all. If leaders want to reduce the dangers facing their people, they should be more transparent and honest with the people and start applying ethic principles in politics.

I would like to commend Israel for being transparent in supporting Kurdistan’s independence in the media but at the same time, I’m asking the question most Kurds want to ask Netanyahu- What’s the practical package beyond these nice media statements?



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