Coalition MK calls on gov’t to declare Houthis terrorists after UAE attack

MK Zvi Hauser urged Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to stand in solidarity with the United Arab Emirates against the Yemeni, Iran-sponsored militia.

 PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett is welcomed by UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi last month. (photo credit: UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation/Reuters)
PRIME MINISTER Naftali Bennett is welcomed by UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi last month.
(photo credit: UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation/Reuters)

The government of Israel should declare the Houthis a terrorist organization in solidarity with the United Arab Emirates, MK Zvi Hauser (New Hope) proposed this week.

The Yemeni Iran-sponsored militia has been steadily growing in its military capabilities over the past decade, and has begun to take an interest in regional affairs, Hauser warned in a letter to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.

The letter came after the Houthis launched missile and drone attacks on Abu Dhabi and Dubai earlier this month, killing three people.

“The Houthis have an ideology that is hostile to Israel and the West, and tout the slogan ‘Death to America, death to Israel, a curse on the Jews and victory for Islam,’” Hauser said, pointing out that this was originally an Iranian motto.

“Their desire to strike Israel, as the long arm of Tehran is proven,” Hauser stated. “Iran stands behind the organization and helps it economically and militarily, providing it with weaponry and training its people.”

MK Zvi Hauser during a vote at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on August 24, 2020. (credit: OREN BEN HAKOON/FLASH90)MK Zvi Hauser during a vote at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on August 24, 2020. (credit: OREN BEN HAKOON/FLASH90)

Hauser pointed out that the Houthis have advanced weaponry, such as cruise missiles and Iranian UAVs, an intelligence-gathering fleet and the ability to strike targets at sea.

“The destructive ideology, the operational capabilities and the connection with Iran, along with other actions meant to undermine regional stability and harm to trade in the Arab Sea and the Red Sea led the Trump administration to declare the organization terrorists,” Hauser wrote.

That declaration was reversed by the Biden administration in February of last year in light of the difficult humanitarian situation in Yemen. However, Hauser noted, US President Joe Biden is mulling putting the Houthis back on the international terrorist list.

“Israel, which wants to be the arrowhead in the war on terror in the Middle East, must immediately advance the declaration of the Houthis as a terrorist organization, which may lead countries and others to make a similar declaration, de facto harming the organization and Iranian attempts to establish themselves in the region and undermine its stability,” Hauser added.

Hauser said on Thursday that “now is the time to stand with our new allies in the region and to clearly prove that Israel is the solution and the way to regional stability and growth.”

The MK also said that Israel should try to convince the US and other allies to join it in designating the Houthis as terrorists, in order to stymie Iran’s proxy warfare.

Israeli officials have shown solidarity with the UAE in the days since the Houthis began the latest round of attacks.

President Isaac Herzog plans to travel to the UAE to meet with Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed, known as MBZ, next week. He condemned the Houthis in a call with MBZ soon after the attack took place.

Bennett spoke with MBZ last week, offering his condolences following the terrorist attacks.

The prime minister also sent a letter to the Emirati leader, in which he wrote, “Israel is committed to working closely with you in the ongoing battle against extremist forces in the region and we will continue to partner with you to defeat our common enemies. We stand ready to offer you security and intelligence support in order to help you protect your citizens from similar attacks.”

Lapid called on the international community to strongly condemn the attacks and take immediate measures so that Iran and its proxies will no longer be able to attack innocent people and undermine regional stability.

UAE Ambassador to Israel Mohamed Al Khaja expressed appreciation for the statements, as well as those by Transportation Minister Merav Michaeli, Deputy Minister Abir Kara and MK Ruth Wasserman-Lande (Blue and White).

“We are humbled by your sincere support,” he wrote.

Sources in the Gulf said that Emirati and Saudi officials appreciated Israel’s strong stance.