ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked on Sunday said the US troop withdrawal from Syria is a wrong decision and hoped the international community would not allow Turkey to “massacre Kurds.”
She described US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria as “bad for Israel” and said it strengthens Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“The Kurds are great heroes,” she said in an interview with the Army radio, “and because of them, the West succeeded in its fight against” the so-called Islamic State.
“They are allies, and I hope that they will win in their battle against the Turks. I hope that the international community will prevent Erdogan from massacring the Kurds” in Syria, Shaked continued.
“This step doesn’t help Israel. It strengthens Erdogan, an anti-Semitic war criminal who carries out massacres of the Kurdish people, and does so with a wink from the international community.”
On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Turkish state should not preach to Israel while Ankara continues to “massacre” Kurds inside and outside of Turkey.
Jerusalem-based journalist Seth Frantzman told Kurdistan 24 that Shaked has supported the Kurds’ right to seek independence in the past.
“She does not appear to speak for the government, but rather to be expressing her own views,” Frantzman said. “However, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed concern about massacres directed at Kurds recently, so clearly this is an issue that resonates in Israel.”
“Many in Israel [sympathize with] Kurds because they are often suppressed by the same countries or groups that also hate Israel,” he added.
“There is a direct link between anti-Kurdish racism in the region and anti-Jewish views, regimes that are openly anti-Kurdish are always anti-Jewish as well, and populist leaders who attack Kurds tend to also make anti-Israel and anti-Jewish comments.”
According to Frantzman, Israel’s concern is not only about Kurds but rather “about the larger strategic perspective in which Iran, Israel’s main enemy in the region, will seek to spread its influence as the US withdraws.”
“Israel does not want to see US influence diminished in such a crucial part of the region,” he added. “Unfortunately, the US has already made the decision hastily to leave without even appearing to coordinate it.”
Meanwhile, some Kurds believe Israel should begin to offer real support on the ground instead of releasing statements sympathizing with them.
“If Netanyahu really believes what he says, then he should act. Enough words, Kurds are tired of empty words,” Diliman Abdulkader, the Director of the Kurdistan Project at the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), told Kurdistan 24.
“If Netanyahu believes Erdogan is such an evil leader whose army massacres women and children in Kurdish villages, inside and outside Turkey, then arm the Kurds and protect them with your brand-new F-35s.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany