(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for establishing an independent Kurdish state, in a rare declaration during an address to a visiting delegation of 33 Republican U.S. lawmakers last week, The Jerusalem Post reported.
In his comments, Netanyahu reportedly referred to the Kurds as a “brave, pro-Western people who share our values,” and expressed a “positive attitude” towards the establishment of a state in the Kurdish regions of northern Iraq.
Netanyahu seldom comments on the issue of establishing an independent state for the Kurds, and his most recent public remarks on the matter came during the summer of 2014.
“With respect to the Kurds, they are a warrior nation that is politically moderate, has proven they can be politically committed, and is worthy of statehood,” Netanyahu said at the time.
During the past several years, as the Islamic State terrorist group wrought havoc in Iraq, the Kurds, a historically maligned and stateless minority, bore a large share of responsibility for fighting the jihadists as they threatened the Kurdish semi-autonomous region and the ethnic minorities living there. The Kurdish aspiration for independent statehood remains a popular grassroots issue.