Kurdish magazine urges Jews to return to Iraq - to make room for Palestinians
By ALEX SORIN
Updated Aug 14, 2009 9:18
A new 52-page Kurdish monthly titled Israel-Kurd believes it has found the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by urging the more than 150,000 Israelis of Kurdish descent to return to Iraqi Kurdistan, Middle East Strategic Information, a project of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, reported on Thursday.
AFP quoted Zana Rustayi, a representative of the Islamist Jamaa Islamiya party in the Iraqi Regional Assembly, as saying, "I'm suspicious. I don't see the point of this kind of publication. The Kurds are part of the Muslim nation, and Kurdistan is part of Iraq."
While many Iraqis are suspicious of the Kurdish-English language publication, others see it as a sign of growing press freedom in Iraq.
"Our media laws give every citizen who is a member of the Syndicate of Journalists the right to publish a magazine or newspaper within 24 hours, and we know that Dawood Baghestani is impartial and not allied to any political party or faction," Radio Netherlands Worldwide quoted Farhad Awni, leader of the Kurdistan Syndicate of Journalists, as saying on Wednesday.
Baghestani, 62, former chief of Iraqi Kurdistan's human rights commission, created Israel-Kurd and believes that if Israelis of Kurdish descent move back to Iraq, there will be more space for Palestinian refugees who wish to return to within the Green Line.
"The biggest reason behind the complexity of the Palestinian problem is the unjust practices of the Arab regimes against the Jews - there are more than 1.5 million Jews originally from Arab countries in Israel," Middle East Strategic Information quoted Baghestani as saying.
"If the Jews had not been subject to an exodus, the Palestinians wouldn't have been either. If every Arab country allowed the Jews to return, ensured their safety and gave them back their land, Palestinian refugees would be able to return to their territory because Israel would not need so much land."
Baghestani has visited Israel four times, including a secret trip in 1967, Middle East Strategic Information reported, and says that Israelis who fled Iraq have the right to return to their homeland.
"What I am asking for is enshrined in the constitution: Every Iraqi has the right to return to one's homeland. Jews who were Iraqi citizens were subject to injustice," he said.