Yemen's internationally recognized government has slammed an Israeli minister’s remark about dropping a nuclear bomb on the Palestinian city of Gaza.
The Yemeni government said that the minister’s “radical” remark posed a significant threat to Palestinians and demonstrated the hostility that had engulfed the Israeli leadership.
The Yemeni government said in a statement carried by the official news agency on Sunday that the remark “represents a serious threat and incitement to murder that reflects unprecedented levels of hatred and extremism.”
It urged the international community to end “racist and inflammatory speeches and daily crimes against the Palestinian people.”
Amichay Eliyahu, Israel’s heritage minister and an ultranationalist politician, suggested on Sunday that a nuclear weapon be dropped on Gaza in retaliation for Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack inside Israel.
The Yemeni government’s comments came as thousands of its people flocked to the country’s major cities and localities, including Taiz, Aden, Abyan, and Sanaa, to demonstrate their support for Palestine and condemn the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
Schools, universities, and other public and private educational institutions have organized sit-ins and events to highlight the suffering of civilians in Gaza, while preachers and powerful individuals have encouraged the public to protest at the rising number of civilian casualties.
Yemenis have united across social media in their denunciation of Israel’s military actions, while demanding the protection of Palestinian civilians.
Yemen has been engulfed in war since late 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthis seized land in a conflict that, according to the UN, has claimed the lives of more than 100,000 people.
The Houthi militia declared last week that it had launched missiles and drones with explosives at targets in Israel in retaliation for the action in Gaza.
The Houthis’ assertion that the arms were fired in support of Palestine is contested by Yemeni and international experts, who contend that the militia attacked Israel to bolster its domestic support and gain favor in Tehran.
In a paper on the repercussions of the Gaza conflict on the Middle East, including Yemen, the International Crisis Group said on Saturday that the Houthis had raised domestic public support by launching attacks against Israel, capitalizing on support for the Palestinian cause.
“Given the widespread sympathy for the Palestinians in Yemen, the movement sees taking the lead in defending that cause as a way to broaden its popular support,” the ICG said.
It added that the militia also wanted to bolster its position within the so-called “axis of resistance,” which comprises Iran-backed armed groups, before showing its military power to adversaries at home and opponents abroad.
It said: “The Houthis are underscoring to both domestic and international audiences that their military power is growing.”
Yemeni political analyst Ali Al-Fakih agrees that one of the goals of the Houthis is to win hearts and minds in Yemen. He added that the militia was operating on behalf of its paymaster Iran, which wanted to convey a message to the US.
Al-Fakih said : “The Houthis and other Shiite factions are Iran’s guns in the region, via which Iran sends messages to the US because it cannot openly defy the US because of the consequences.”
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