Some 30 million Kurds – a population 10 times larger than the Palestinian one – inhabit a large area at the heart of the Middle East (see map), about 100 times larger than the West Bank and the Gaza Strip put together. They have been under brutal occupation for centuries, their land torn between four oppressing countries –Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. They have no state of their own, and they will not have one in the foreseeable future.
We hear a lot, both in the UN and from the EU, about ‘the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people’, but we hear nothing about those of the Kurdish people. Why is that? Could it be because their land is not occupied by Israel?
There were times in the Middle East when Israel supported the Kurds in their struggle for independence. Recently, however, it had been selling drones and arms to Turkey, arms used directly against the Kurds. We all know how grateful the Turkish government is for this aid – we hear its Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, going for Israel’s throat on a daily basis.
So why can’t Israel truly support the Kurds? Why can’t it take their plight to the general assembly of the United Nations and to its Security Council on a regular basis? Why can’t it arrange government backed flotillas carrying humanitarian aid to set sail from Ashdod and Haifa towards Turkish ports?
Actions like these require leadership, constancy of purpose, strong nerves and boldness. All which are sorely lacking in Israel today.