Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed interest in partitioning Iraq and establishing an independent Kurdish state in the Arab country during a meeting with a delegation of 33 US Republican congressmen.
The Israeli premier expressed his “positive attitude” toward a Kurdish state in the northern areas of Iraq, saying the Kurds are a “brave, pro-Western people who share our values,” a source who participated in the meeting held on Thursday said, the Jerusalem Post reported Sunday.
Netanyahu does not frequently speak publicly about the politically highly sensitive issue which also worries Turkey.
The last time Netanyahu addressed the issue publicly was in 2014 when he said in a speech that Israel should “support the Kurdish aspiration for independence.”
The news comes about two months after Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani warned about bids to break up Iraq, saying the Arab country’s partitioning serves the interests of Israel.
"The Zionist regime seeks Iraq's disintegration,” Larijani said during a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in Tehran on June 21.
Israel has a longstanding relationship with the Kurds, whom it regards as one of the few non-Arab allies in the area.
A report published in the New Yorker magazine in 2004 said Israeli military and intelligence operatives were active in Kurdish areas and providing training for commando units.
According to the report, Israel has been expanding its presence in Kurdistan and encouraging Kurds, its allies in the region, to create an independent state.