Israel has admitted officially for the first time that it provided arms and military instructors to the Kurds in their secessionist fight against Iraq from 1965 to 1975. Foreign news media had frequently reported that successive Labor Party governments were aiding the Kurds, but a statement yesterday by Premier Menachem Begin was the first official confirmation.
Talking to reporters at Givat Olga, near Tel Aviv, Begin said “Israel actively supported the Kurds in their struggle for independence for 10 years.” He said Israel “provided arms and instructors to train the Kurdish fighters, who performed courageously despite the fact that they were outnumbered and outgunned by the Iraqis.”
Begin said the late Shah of Iran was the leading advocate of aid for the Kurds and had supplied them with some arms. The program continued until Iran and Iraq signed a treaty in 1975 settling their bilateral dispute. Iraq denounced the treaty when hostilities broke out with Iran two weeks ago.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.