Netanyahu: PKK is Terror Group, but Israel Supports Kurdish Independence

by Andrew Friedman/TPS

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu distanced himself Wednesday from comments made by a former IDF general who said he did not consider the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) a terrorist organization. But the prime minister did throw his support behind Kurdish efforts to create an independent state.

“Israel rejects the PKK and considers it a terrorist organization, as opposed to Turkey, which supports the terror organization Hamas. While Israel rejects terror in any form, it supports the legitimate efforts of the Kurdish people to attain a state of its own,” Netanyahu said during a state visit to Argentina.

Netanyahu was responding to comments made in Washington Tuesday by former IDF deputy chief of staff Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, who told a conference at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy that he does not consider the group a terrorist organization, despite the fact that it appears on the US, European Union and Turkish lists of terror groups.

“In my personal opinion, the PKK is not a terrorist organization,” said Golan.

The PKK, which was founded in the mid-1980s, has attacked civilian and military targets in Turkey, killing at least 40,000 people.

The comment was not the first time Golan has publicly differed with standing Israeli policy or clashed with Netanyahu: Last year, he drew fire at a Holocaust Memorial Day event for comparing trends in contemporary Israel to those of 1930s-era Germany.

“If there is something that frightens me about the memory of the Holocaust, it is seeing the abhorrent processes that took place in Europe, and Germany in particular, some 70, 80 or 90 years ago, and finding manifestations of these processes here among us in 2016,” Golan told a ceremony at the Masua Holocaust Institute in Tel Yitzchak.

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