Hivos International

Al-Akhbar: "There is a healthy public debate about relation between Kurdistan and Israel in Kurdish communities", says Kawa Hassasn

Interview to Al-Akhbar

On June 29 of this year, Israel's right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced his government's support for the independence of Iraqi Kurdistan. It was a surprising announcement, making Israel the first country to publicly voice its support for Kurdish self-determination.

“The Israelis are clearly acting on their own accord,” Ruwayda Mustafa Rabar, a British-Kurdish journalist and commentator, told Al-Akhbar. “[The Israelis] see it as an important opportunity for them because Kurdistan has oil and breaks their alienation in the region.”

“They were acting unilaterally...but it was like the kiss of death,” she added.

Already, the support has garnered criticisms from Arabs in Iraq and the region. Netanyahu's announcement also came after unsubstantiated rumors, propagated by Iraqi television channels and circled by the international mainstream press, that the KRG was selling oil to the Israelis spread throughout social media.

But even if the story was true, Kawa Hassan, knowledge officer for the Dutch-based Hivos organization and visiting fellow at Beirut's Carnegie Middle East Center, pointed out that many Kurds referred to Egyptian oil sales to Israel as a precedent.

“This position therefore says, 'Why is it halal for them, but haram for us?'” Hassan told Al-Akhbar. 

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