Israeli Troops Shoot Dead 4 Palestinians during Protests against Trump’s Jerusalem Move

Israeli forces shot and killed four Palestinians as demonstrations continued against US President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem decision. (Reuters)
Israeli forces shot and killed four Palestinians as demonstrations continued against US President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem decision. (Reuters)
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Israeli Troops Shoot Dead 4 Palestinians during Protests against Trump’s Jerusalem Move

Israeli forces shot and killed four Palestinians as demonstrations continued against US President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem decision. (Reuters)
Israeli forces shot and killed four Palestinians as demonstrations continued against US President Donald Trump’s Jerusalem decision. (Reuters)

Israeli forces shot and killed four Palestinians on Friday as demonstrations continued against US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Some 150 others were wounded as the Israeli troop used live fire to confront the protesters, officials said.

Most of the casualties were on the Gaza Strip border, where thousands of Palestinians gathered to hurl rocks at Israeli soldiers beyond the fortified fence. Medics said two protesters, one of them wheelchair-bound, were killed and 150 wounded.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Kidra said two Palestinians were killed from gunshots to the head. He identified the disabled man as Ibrahim Abu Thraya, 29, who had both legs amputated. He had taken part in several border skirmishes recently, images on social media show him carrying a Palestinian flag. He was a regular at such demonstrations. In media interviews, he said he had lost both his legs in a 2008 Israeli missile strike in Gaza.

An Israeli military spokeswoman had no immediate comment on Abu Thraya.

Another 82 Palestinians were injured in clashes in several locations along Gaza's border with Israel, at least five of whom were seriously wounded, Kidra said.

In the occupied West Bank, another area where Palestinians are seeking statehood along with adjacent East Jerusalem, medics said two protesters were killed and 10 wounded by Israeli gunfire.

Palestinians -- and the wider Arab and Muslim world -- were incensed at Trump’s December 6 announcement, which reversed decades of US policy reticence on Jerusalem, a city where both Israel and the Palestinians want sovereignty.

Washington’s European allies and Russia have also voiced worries about Trump’s decision.

Gaza’s dominant Hamas movement, which reject coexistence with Israel, called last week for a new Palestinian uprising, but any such mass-mobilization has yet to be seen in the West Bank or East Jerusalem.

There have been almost nightly Gazan rocket launches into Israel, so far without casualties. Israel has responded with air strikes on Hamas facilities, one of which killed two gunmen.

The Israel military said thousands of "Palestinian rioters" rolled burning tires and hurled firebombs and rocks at security forces, who responded with tear gas and also "fired selectively toward main instigators."

The clashes were fiercer in the West Bank where about 13 protesters were injured by live fire and 61 by rubber bullets while dozens more were treated for tear gas inhalation, according to the Red Crescent.

In east Jerusalem, protesters waved Palestinian flags and chanted "Jerusalem is Arab" as they walked the narrow streets of the Old City. Some threw bottles of water at police.

In the city of Nablus, some Palestinians used slingshots to hurl rocks at Israeli security forces while others torched tires to use the thick plumes of smoke as cover. Others, masked, threw firebombs at an armored water cannon used to disperse crowds.

East Jerusalem is home to sensitive Jewish, Muslim and Christian holy sites and the fate of the territory is an emotionally charged issue at the heart of the conflict. The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war from Jordan, as the capital of their hoped-for state. Israel says the entire city, including east Jerusalem, is its eternal capital. Its annexation is not recognized internationally.

Palestinians hope that part of the city will be the capital of a future independent state and Palestinian leaders say Trump’s move is a serious blow to a moribund peace process.



Israel's Netanyahu Says Palestinian State Recognition a 'Reward for Terror'

Oded Balilty / File photo by The AP
Oded Balilty / File photo by The AP
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Israel's Netanyahu Says Palestinian State Recognition a 'Reward for Terror'

Oded Balilty / File photo by The AP
Oded Balilty / File photo by The AP

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu said the recognition of the State of Palestine by Spain, Ireland and Norway on Wednesday was a "reward for terror".

"The intention of several European countries to recognize a Palestinian state is a reward for terror," he said in a statement, adding a sovereign State of Palestine would be a "terror state" that would "try to repeatedly carry out the massacre of October 7th".

Also, the White House said Wednesday it opposed "unilateral recognition" of a Palestinian state.

President Joe Biden "has been on the record supporting a two-state solution," his national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, told reporters.

"He has been equally emphatic on the record that that two-state solution should be brought about through direct negotiations through the parties, not through unilateral recognition," he said, AFP reported.

He stopped short of criticizing the decision to formally recognize the State of Palestine by the three European countries, all close allies of the United States.

"Each country is entitled to make its own determinations, but the US position on this is clear," Sullivan said.

For his part, Far-right Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich told Netanyahu that he wants to take retaliatory action including severing an arrangement in which Norway handles funds intended to the Palestinian Authority.

Under peace agreements brokered in part by Norway in the 1990s, Israel collects money for the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited autonomy in parts of the West Bank.

But Israel has blocked transfers since the aftermath of the October 7 attack.

Sullivan said that funds should keep going to the Palestinian Authority which the Biden administration wants to strengthen in hopes it can assume control of Gaza from Hamas.

"I think it's wrong on a strategic basis, because withholding funds destabilizes the West Bank," Sullivan said of Israeli moves to stop funds.

"It undermines the search for security and prosperity for the Palestinian people which is in Israel's interests, and, I think, it's wrong to withhold funds that provide basic goods and services to innocent people," he said.

Biden and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have been pushing Israel to move forward on a timeline for a Palestinian state, in part by dangling the prospect of Saudi Arabia normalizing relations with Israel.

But Washington vetoed a recent UN Security Council bid to recognize the State of Palestine, saying that recognition could only come through negotiations that take into account Israel's security interests.


White House Sees More 'Targeted' Rafah Action but Renews Warning

Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment over Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 13, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas militant group. (AFP)
Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment over Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 13, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas militant group. (AFP)
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White House Sees More 'Targeted' Rafah Action but Renews Warning

Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment over Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 13, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas militant group. (AFP)
Smoke billows during Israeli bombardment over Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 13, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas militant group. (AFP)

The White House said Wednesday that Israel has so far been taking more "targeted" action in Rafah but renewed its warning to avoid "a lot of death and destruction" in the southern Gaza city.

President Joe Biden earlier this month warned Israel he would stop supplying some arms -- and his administration halted one shipment including massive bombs -- after he voiced opposition to a major assault on Rafah, where more than one million displaced Palestinians had found shelter.

Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security advisor, said he was told during a visit this week to Israel of "refinements" in its plans for Rafah that would allow it "to achieve its military objectives while taking account of civilian harm."

"What we have seen so far in terms of Israel's military operations in that area has been more targeted and limited, has not involved major military operations into the heart of dense urban areas," Sullivan told reporters, Reuters reported.

But he stopped short of saying that Israel had addressed US concerns, adding that Washington was closely watching ongoing Israeli actions.

"There's no mathematical formula. What we're going to be looking at is whether there is a lot of death and destruction from this operation, or if it is more precise and proportional," he said.

"We will see what will unfold."

During a congressional hearing featuring testimony from Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Representative Sara Jacobs praised fellow Democrat Biden for his "red line" on Rafah but said the public might not understand where the line was.


Pentagon Chief Tells Israel of Need to Coordinate Humanitarian, Military Gaza Operations

Packages fall towards northern Gaza, after being dropped from a military aircraft, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, as seen from Israel's border with Gaza in southern Israel March 7, 2024. (Reuters)
Packages fall towards northern Gaza, after being dropped from a military aircraft, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, as seen from Israel's border with Gaza in southern Israel March 7, 2024. (Reuters)
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Pentagon Chief Tells Israel of Need to Coordinate Humanitarian, Military Gaza Operations

Packages fall towards northern Gaza, after being dropped from a military aircraft, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, as seen from Israel's border with Gaza in southern Israel March 7, 2024. (Reuters)
Packages fall towards northern Gaza, after being dropped from a military aircraft, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian group Hamas, as seen from Israel's border with Gaza in southern Israel March 7, 2024. (Reuters)

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told his Israeli counterpart Yoav Gallant in a call on Wednesday of the need for an effective mechanism to coordinate humanitarian and military operations in Gaza, the Pentagon said.

Austin also reiterated the US's "strong objections" to the arrest warrant request issued by the ICC Chief Prosecutor.

The secretary of defense stressed the need to increase humanitarian aid into Gaza and to find an "effective mechanism to deconflict humanitarian and military operations inside Gaza."


Israeli Army's Raids in West Bank's Jenin Kills 10, Wounds 25

Graffiti on walls in Dublin saying “Victory for Palestine” after Ireland announced on Wednesday that it would recognize the Palestinian state (Reuters)
Graffiti on walls in Dublin saying “Victory for Palestine” after Ireland announced on Wednesday that it would recognize the Palestinian state (Reuters)
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Israeli Army's Raids in West Bank's Jenin Kills 10, Wounds 25

Graffiti on walls in Dublin saying “Victory for Palestine” after Ireland announced on Wednesday that it would recognize the Palestinian state (Reuters)
Graffiti on walls in Dublin saying “Victory for Palestine” after Ireland announced on Wednesday that it would recognize the Palestinian state (Reuters)

Israeli forces killed 10 Palestinians and wounded 25 others in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin since Tuesday morning, the Palestinian health ministry said late on Wednesday.
Israeli forces raided Jenin on Tuesday, killing eight Palestinians, including a doctor and a teenager, during a major operation that involved dozens of vehicles and continued into the night, witnesses and Palestinian health authorities said.
Two others were killed on Wednesday bringing the number of those who were killed in Jenin to ten and the total death toll to 516 in the West Bank since October 7, the health ministry added, Reuters reported.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Mustafa warned in a statement on Wednesday of the dangers of "Israeli military escalation and settlers attacks in the West Bank".
The occupied West Bank, which Palestinians want as the core of a future independent state along with Gaza, has seen a surge in violence since the start of the war in Gaza last year, and a major crackdown by Israeli security forces which have made thousands of arrests.


ISIS Claims Attack on Vehicle in Iraq Which Killed Soldier

Iraqi forces in Mosul. (AFP)
Iraqi forces in Mosul. (AFP)
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ISIS Claims Attack on Vehicle in Iraq Which Killed Soldier

Iraqi forces in Mosul. (AFP)
Iraqi forces in Mosul. (AFP)

One Iraqi soldier was killed and two were wounded after an explosive device detonated on their vehicle in an area between the Diyala and Salahuddin governorates in eastern Iraq on Wednesday, two security sources said.

The ISIS group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement on its Telegram channel later on Wednesday.


Israel Allows Return to Three Evacuated West Bank Settlements

The Israeli settlement of Efrata was built on land from the Palestinian town of Al-Khader in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on 6 March 2024 (AFP)
The Israeli settlement of Efrata was built on land from the Palestinian town of Al-Khader in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on 6 March 2024 (AFP)
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Israel Allows Return to Three Evacuated West Bank Settlements

The Israeli settlement of Efrata was built on land from the Palestinian town of Al-Khader in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on 6 March 2024 (AFP)
The Israeli settlement of Efrata was built on land from the Palestinian town of Al-Khader in Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on 6 March 2024 (AFP)

The Israeli military has approved permission for Israelis to return to three former West Bank settlements they had been banned from entering since an evacuation ordered in 2005, the defense ministry said on Wednesday.

The three settlements, Sa-nur, Ganim and Kadim, are located near the Palestinian cities of Jenin and Nablus, both of which are strongholds of armed militant groups in the northern West Bank.

A fourth settlement, Homesh, was cleared for entry last year after parliament passed an amendment to the so-called "disengagement law" of 2005. Permission from the military, which has overall control of the West Bank, was required for any return to the other three former settlements.

The military announced the move on the day three European states said they would formally recognize the State of Palestine, and as Israel's military offensive against the Palestinian group Hamas continued in the Gaza Strip.

It took the decision despite international pressure on Israel to curb settlement expansion in the West Bank, which Palestinians want as the core of a future independent state alongside Gaza.

"The Jewish hold on Judea and Samaria guarantees security, the application of the law to cancel disengagement will lead to the development of settlement and provide security to residents of the area," Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said in a statement, using the Biblical names for the West Bank that are often used in Israel.

The Palestinian Authority accused Israel of intransigence that was stoking regional instability, and said there could be no lasting peace until Israel recognized a Palestinian state.

"A state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, or there is no security or peace for anyone, and the battle will continue," said spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

Last year's amendment to the disengagement law was seen as opening the way to re-establishing former West Bank settlements evacuated in 2005 under a plan overseen by former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Under the plan, which was opposed by the settler movement at the time, all 21 Israeli settlements in Gaza were ordered to be evacuated. Most settlements in the West Bank were unaffected apart from the four that will now be accessible again.

More than 500,000 Jewish settlers are now estimated to be living in the West Bank, part of territory captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, with a further 200,000 living in East Jerusalem.

For Palestinians and most of the international community, the settlements are considered illegal. Israel disputes this, citing the Jewish people's historical, biblical and political links to the area as well as security considerations.

Despite international opposition, settlements have continued to expand strongly under successive Israeli governments.


Israeli Forces Move Deeper into Rafah in Night of Heavy Battle 

A Palestinian man and his children sit in a destroyed room following the targeting or a residential building by an Israeli airstrike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 22, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)
A Palestinian man and his children sit in a destroyed room following the targeting or a residential building by an Israeli airstrike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 22, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)
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Israeli Forces Move Deeper into Rafah in Night of Heavy Battle 

A Palestinian man and his children sit in a destroyed room following the targeting or a residential building by an Israeli airstrike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 22, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)
A Palestinian man and his children sit in a destroyed room following the targeting or a residential building by an Israeli airstrike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on May 22, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group. (AFP)

Israeli tanks advanced to the edge of a crowded district in the heart of Rafah on Wednesday during one of the most intense nights of bombardment of the southern Gaza city since Israel launched its offensive there this month.

Israel's assault on Rafah on Gaza's southern edge has set hundreds of thousands of people fleeing what had been a refuge for half of the enclave's 2.3 million people. It has also cut off the main access routes for aid into Gaza, drawing international fears of mass casualties and famine.

Israel says it has no choice but to attack the city to root out the last battalions of Hamas fighters it believes are sheltering there. Its troops have been slowly moving into the eastern outskirts of Rafah since the start of the month.

Residents and militants said tanks had taken up new positions on Wednesday further west than before along the southern border fence with Egypt, and were now stationed on the edge of the Yibna neighborhood at the center of Rafah. They had not yet entered the district as fighting had been intense.

Hamas's armed wing said it had struck two armored troop carriers at a gate along the border fence with anti-tank rockets.

Palestinian residents said Israeli drones were firing into the Yibna suburb and had opened fire overnight on fishing boats on the beach of Rafah causing some to catch fire.

"There has been no stopping of Israeli fire all night, from drones, helicopters, warplanes, and tanks," said one resident of Rafah, asking for his name to be withheld to protect his security.

"Tanks made a limited push southeast, still limited but they have advanced under heavy fire all night," he told Reuters via a chat app.

There was no immediate word from the Israeli military on Rafah. It said it had killed a number of fighters in targeted operations in Khan Younis just north of Rafah, and in the northern Gaza Strip where its troops have returned in a major operation in an area where they said they had dismantled Hamas months ago.

UNRWA, the main United Nations agency in Gaza, estimated as of Monday that more than 800,000 people had fled Rafah since Israel began targeting the city in early May, despite international pleas for restraint.

Israel launched its assault on Gaza following a Hamas-led attack on southern Israeli communities on Oct. 7 in which fighters killed 1,200 people and captured more than 250 hostages. Since then, Israel's assault has killed more than 35,000 people, with thousands more feared buried under the rubble, according to Gaza health authorities.

The Israeli military said it had killed a person it identified as Ahmed Yasser Alkara and described as a key Hamas operative, along with two other militants, in a strike in Khan Younis.

"Alkara took part in the Oct. 7 massacre in communities in southern Israel and was a significant anti-tank missile operative who carried out attacks on IDF troops during the war," said the military statement.

The statement also said five other militants were killed and had been operating from inside a school.

In the central Gaza Strip town of Zawayda, an Israeli air strike killed seven people in one house, medics said.

On Gaza's northern edge in Jabalia, the largest of Gaza's eight historical refugee camps, Israeli forces pressed on with a ground offensive that has carried on in parallel with the Rafah assault for two weeks.

Health officials and residents say entire residential districts have been destroyed and dozens of people killed in the operation, in an area where Israel withdrew its forces after claiming to have "dismantled" Hamas in January. Israel says it has had to return to prevent Hamas from re-establishing there.


Far-Right Israeli Cabinet Minister Visits Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, Raising Tensions 

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on September 10, 2023. (AFP via Getty Images)
Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on September 10, 2023. (AFP via Getty Images)
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Far-Right Israeli Cabinet Minister Visits Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, Raising Tensions 

Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on September 10, 2023. (AFP via Getty Images)
Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir on September 10, 2023. (AFP via Getty Images)

Israel's far right national security minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, visited Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque compound on Wednesday, declaring the contested holy site belongs “only to the state of Israel.”

Ben-Gvir said Wednesday's visit was a response to a move by three European countries to unilaterally recognize an independent Palestinian state.

“We will not even allow a statement about a Palestinian state,” he said.

The hilltop compound is revered by Jews and Muslims, and the conflicting claims have led to numerous rounds of violence in the past.

Israel allows Jews to visit the compound, but not to pray there. But the visit is likely to be seen around the world as a provocation.

Norway, Ireland and Spain said Wednesday they are recognizing a Palestinian state in a historic move that drew condemnation from Israel and jubilation from the Palestinians. Israel immediately ordered back its ambassadors from Norway and Ireland.

The formal recognition will be made on May 28. The development is a step toward a long-held Palestinian aspiration that came against the backdrop of international outrage over the civilian death toll and humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip following Israel’s offensive there.


Yemen PM to Asharq Al-Awsat: Peace Is Weakening, 30% of Budget Is Spent on Electricity

Yemen's Prime Minister Ahmad bin Mubarak during a meeting with officials at the Aden Oil Refinery Company in the interim capital, Aden. (Yemeni Prime Minister’s Office)
Yemen's Prime Minister Ahmad bin Mubarak during a meeting with officials at the Aden Oil Refinery Company in the interim capital, Aden. (Yemeni Prime Minister’s Office)
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Yemen PM to Asharq Al-Awsat: Peace Is Weakening, 30% of Budget Is Spent on Electricity

Yemen's Prime Minister Ahmad bin Mubarak during a meeting with officials at the Aden Oil Refinery Company in the interim capital, Aden. (Yemeni Prime Minister’s Office)
Yemen's Prime Minister Ahmad bin Mubarak during a meeting with officials at the Aden Oil Refinery Company in the interim capital, Aden. (Yemeni Prime Minister’s Office)

In 2015, the Iran-backed Houthi militias kidnapped the Secretary-General of Yemen’s National Dialogue Conference (NDC) not knowing he would soon rally Western powers and work to change their view of the Yemeni crisis.

This effort by the then NDC chief, now Yemeni prime minister, was part of a broader manifesto that includes transparency for Yemen’s domestic issues.

The Houthis are aware, however, that their recent attacks in the Red Sea, claimed to be in support of Gaza, have given a unique opportunity to the government headed by PM Dr. Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak.

These attacks have allowed his administration to leverage a situation that hasn’t been possible since the Yemeni crisis began with the coup on September 21, 2014.

Asharq Al-Awsat sat down for an interview with bin Mubark at the Yemeni Embassy in London. The meeting lasted over 20 minutes during which he detailed his government’s plans for both domestic and international policies.

He answered many questions about peace, recent political developments, his visit to the UK, the US response to Red Sea Houthi attacks, and the challenges of electricity, and public services.

Diminishing peace

Experts on the Yemeni crisis believe Houthi operations in the Red Sea have hurt peace prospects, despite the militias' claims that these actions are unrelated to peace efforts.

The UN said these operations have hindered the work of its special envoy, Hans Grundberg, who has faced indirect criticism from Yemen’s new foreign minister, Dr. Shae Al-Zandani.

Majed Al-Madhaji, head of the Sanaa Center for Strategic Studies, highlighted several challenges for bin Mubarak’s government: political responses to Red Sea developments, potential Houthi military escalation, and the ongoing economic war.

Amid this, it was essential to ask bin Mubarak: Is peace still possible with Houthi escalation?

“For us, peace remains a strategic choice,” he told Asharq Al-Awsat. However, he noted that recent Houthi actions are reducing peace prospects.

“Their ideological stance outweighs the pragmatic benefits they could achieve by accepting proposed solutions,” explained bin Mubarak.

“The world is increasingly wary of the Houthis’ potential role in any future peace agreement,” said the prime minister.

He noted that “the international community is significantly concerned, especially due to the Houthis' capabilities and their close ties with Iran.” This relationship has complicated the peace process.

The prime minister emphasized the need to reconsider linking peace efforts with Red Sea operations.

When asked about Washington’s condition for the Houthis to stop their naval attacks to continue the peace process, bin Mubarak said: “The Yemeni government faces peace initiatives that often lead to more conflict and prolong the crisis.”

“In our discussions with the international community, we’ve always stressed – and you know the pressure we faced to go to Stockholm, where a peace agreement was announced but didn’t last hours – that in all new proposals, whether a truce or the current roadmap, it's crucial the international community supports a genuine peace plan,” he added.

“This plan should not hand Yemen over to the Houthis, who serve Iran’s agenda. This would be disastrous not only for Yemenis, who would reject them, but also for the region and the world,” he warned.

Bin Mubarak then asked: “Would the Houthis become a normal movement if they stopped their Red Sea operations today? Their actions in recent months have shown a clear ideological direction and strong ties to Iran’s agenda, posing a significant threat.”

“It’s less about how the US supports any future framework and more about ensuring support for what is sustainable. This approach helps Yemenis reach a framework where they can coexist and address their issues more effectively.”

Western shift in narrative

The narrative of the Yemeni war has changed significantly, stressed the premier.

“What we used to warn about is now being echoed by Western voices,” he elaborated.

“Previous claims that the Houthis could be brought to peace through economic incentives, that Iran’s influence on them is minimal, that they are just a domestic issue in Yemen, and that they pose no regional or direct threat to Western interests have all been debunked,” asserted bin Mubarak.

He believes this shift should lead to “a strategic change in how the Houthis are viewed—not just as a military or social faction, but as an ideological threat.”

“This ideology impacts not only Yemen but also the region and the world,” he cautioned.

First 100 days

Regarding his first 100 days in office, the PM said: “Certainly they have been tough, given the difficult circumstances. I came into office during a halt in oil exports, which cut off over 70% of the Yemeni government’s revenue.”

“This is a major part of the economic war, with blockades preventing goods from reaching government areas controlled by the Houthis, severely impacting government resources.”

“The halt in domestic gas exports from Marib and the ban on oil exports have intensified the economic pressure on the Yemeni government,” he elucidated.

The prime minister reflects on his first 100 days, acknowledging challenges amidst a backdrop of ongoing conflict.

“Despite some suggesting it is a peaceful phase, we’ve seen over 48 casualties in recent confrontations with the Houthis. Institutional building is also tough due to war conditions,” he revealed.

However, according to bin Mubarak, there have been notable strides.

“I’ve prioritized reform, transparency, and direct citizen engagement. We’ve optimized resource use, reformed key state institutions, and activated them in Aden,” he explained.

“Despite difficulties, we’ve reduced fuel expenditure by 35%-40% through transparent procedures. We’ve also focused on ministries directly impacting revenue generation and citizen service delivery,” said the PM.

Electricity woes

Power cuts have become a regular part of life rather than just a problem. Yemenis have to endure extreme heat or spoiled food due to lack of electricity, so it’s natural for them to complain.

“The energy sector has suffered for various reasons, even before the war. There hasn't been a strategic approach to this issue for a long time, and we’ve relied heavily on temporary fixes,” noted bin Mubarak.

The Yemeni government spends 30% of its resources on energy, with a huge chunk, 75%, going solely to fuel.

Under bin Mubarak’s leadership, the government is aiming to lower fuel prices directly.

“Our strategy first aims to stop excessive spending so we can save for the future,” he explained.

“For instance, we’ve slashed the price of fuel from $1,200 to $760 per ton, saving nearly half. Similar savings are expected in transporting crude oil to power stations, especially in Aden.”

“We're also pushing for a shift to cleaner energy sources like solar and wind power, working closely with partners like Saudi Arabia and the UAE,” revealed bin Mubarak.

According to the prime minister, fixing Yemen’s electricity sector will take time and significant investments, along with genuine partnerships with the private sector.

He stressed that private sector involvement depends on structural reforms, including legislative changes and improving distribution networks.

“We need to stop waste and losses due to weak networks and illegal tapping, and adjust tariffs while increasing collection rates. These are crucial steps for a better energy future,” he affirmed.


Israel Revokes Order to Cut AP Live Gaza Video Feed 

A ship transporting international humanitarian aid is moored at the US-built Trident Pier as Palestinians walk along a main road near Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on May 21, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Hamas group. (AFP)
A ship transporting international humanitarian aid is moored at the US-built Trident Pier as Palestinians walk along a main road near Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on May 21, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Hamas group. (AFP)
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Israel Revokes Order to Cut AP Live Gaza Video Feed 

A ship transporting international humanitarian aid is moored at the US-built Trident Pier as Palestinians walk along a main road near Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on May 21, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Hamas group. (AFP)
A ship transporting international humanitarian aid is moored at the US-built Trident Pier as Palestinians walk along a main road near Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip on May 21, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Hamas group. (AFP)

Israel walked back its decision to shut down an Associated Press live video feed of war-torn Gaza on Tuesday, following a protest from the US news agency and concern from the White House.

Israeli Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said he had revoked an earlier order that accused the AP of breaching a new ban on providing rolling footage of Gaza to Qatar-based satellite channel Al Jazeera.

"I have now ordered to cancel the operation and return the equipment to the AP agency," Karhi said in a statement, after Washington called on Israel to reverse the move.

"We've been engaging directly with the government of Israel to express our concerns over this action and to ask them to reverse it," a White House spokesperson said.

Karhi's original order earlier Tuesday said communications ministry inspectors had "confiscated the equipment" of AP on orders approved by the government "in accordance with the law".

AP said Israeli officials had seized its camera and broadcasting equipment at a location in the Israeli town of Sderot that overlooks the northern Gaza Strip.

In a statement issued after the order, the news agency said it "decries in the strongest terms" the move by the Israeli government.

Reacting after Israeli officials ordered the equipment to be returned, it added: "While we are pleased with this development, we remain concerned about the Israeli government's use of the foreign broadcaster law and the ability of independent journalists to operate freely in Israel."

AP said Al Jazeera was among thousands of clients that receive live video feeds from the agency.

Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid said the government "went crazy".

"This is not Al Jazeera, this is an American media outlet that has won 53 Pulitzer Prizes," he wrote on social media platform X.

- 'Attack on press freedom' -

AFP global news director Phil Chetwynd said Israel's initial order was "an attack on press freedom".

"The free flow of verified information and images from reliable sources is vital in the current highly-charged context," he said in a statement.

"We would urge the authorities to immediately reverse this decision and to allow all journalists to work freely and without hindrance."

The United Nations said it was "shocking".

"The Associated Press, of all news organizations, should be allowed to do its work freely and free of any harassment," said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Qatar-based Al Jazeera was taken off the air in Israel this month after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government voted to shut it down over its coverage of the Gaza war.

Al Jazeera's Jerusalem offices were shuttered, its equipment confiscated, and its team's accreditations pulled.

The AP said communications ministry officials arrived at its location in Sderot on Tuesday afternoon and seized the equipment.

It said officials had handed the AP a piece of paper, signed by the communications minister, alleging it was violating the country's new foreign broadcast law.

The ministry later confirmed the incident.

It said the US news agency regularly took images of Gaza from the balcony of a house in Sderot, "including focusing on the activities of IDF (army) soldiers and their location".

"Even though the inspectors of the Ministry of Communications warned them that they were breaking the law and that they should cut off Al Jazeera from receiving their content and not transfer a broadcast to Al Jazeera, they continued to do so," it said.

- 'Outrageous censorship' -

The AP said it had been broadcasting a general view of northern Gaza before its equipment was seized, and that the live feed has generally shown smoke rising over the Palestinian territory.

"The AP complies with Israel's military censorship rules, which prohibit broadcasts of details like troops movements that could endanger soldiers," the agency added.

The Foreign Press Association in Israel said it was "alarmed" by the confiscation of the AP's equipment, calling it "a slippery slope".

It denounced Israel's "dismal" record on press freedom during the Gaza war, and called the move against AP "outrageous censorship".

In the 2024 press freedom index by media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Israel ranked 101st out of 180 countries -- dropping four positions from the previous year.

After the order to restore AP's equipment was announced, RSF said on X that it was "good to see a rapid reversal of this outrageous decision, but @AP never should have been blocked".

"The ban on @AlJazeera must also be immediately reversed - and the international community should show the same support it showed today," it added.

The Gaza war broke out after Hamas's October 7 attack on Israel, which resulted in the deaths of more than 1,170 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli official figures.

Hamas also took 252 hostages, 124 of whom remain in Gaza including 37 the army says are dead.

Israel's retaliatory offensive against Hamas has killed at least 35,647 people in Gaza, also mostly civilians, according to the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.