ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Former Israeli Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar on Sunday urged Israel and the United States to support a Kurdish referendum for independence.
President of the Kurdistan Region Masoud Barzani recently decided to hold an independence referendum on Sep. 25, 2017, a long-awaited dream of Kurds who seek to establish an independent state in the Middle East.
The Shia-led government in Baghdad has rejected any unilateral decision by Kurds to secede from Iraq, adding any decision in that regard should involve all parties of Iraq.
Sa’ar, who has extensively written about current issues in the Middle East, including the Kurds, at the Institute for National Security Studies, believes a majority of Kurds will vote for secession.
“Israel should recognize Kurdistan and try to persuade the US to welcome a state for the Kurds as well,” Sa’ar told The Jerusalem Post.
He added the establishment of a Kurdish state would rely on the reaction from countries around the world following a referendum.
“We Jews, like the Kurds, are a minority in the Middle East,” he added. “ [Kurds] have proven themselves over decades to be a reliable strategic partner for us.”
Kurdish Peshmerga forces have been one of the most effective forces in defeating the so-called Islamic State (IS), former US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter had previously said.
So far, over 1,700 Peshmerga have fallen while fighting the insurgent group, and 10,000 more have been injured, according to the Peshmerga Ministry.
Former Israel Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had previously called upon the international community to support Kurds in the fight against IS.
Israel has been one of the countries that have publicly shown its support for a Kurdish statehood.
Last year, Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked stated, “We [the State of Israel] must openly call for the establishment of a Kurdish state that separates Iran from Turkey, one which will be friendly toward Israel.”
In June 2014, the Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu pointed out the Kurds “are a warrior nation.”
The Kurds are “politically moderate, [have] proven they can be politically committed, and [are] worthy of statehood,” he added.
In a meeting with former US President Barack Obama in 2014, former President and Prime Minister of Israel Shimon Peres had advised the US to support the Kurds and the creation of a Kurdish state.
He had also praised the democracy practiced in the Kurdistan Region.
“The Kurds have, de facto, created their own state, which is democratic,” Peres told Obama in 2014. “One of the signs of a democracy is the granting of equality to women.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany