May 25, 2015
In Blog News
Report says Israel conveyed the proposal via American diplomats as a means to combat Huthi rebels in Yemen
Saudi Arabia recently rejected an Israeli offer to provide it with Iron Dome rocket defense technology, a London-based Arab newspaper reported Saturday.
According to Rai al-Youm, Israel conveyed the proposal to Saudi officials last week via American diplomats stationed in Jordan, as a means to combat rocket attacks by Huthi rebels in neighboring Yemen.
The report stated that the Saudis turned down the offer for unspecified reasons.
There was no confirmation of the report by any official sources.
The Iron Dome system was jointly developed and funded with the United States. It first proved itself this past summer, intercepting and shooting down more than 700 rockets fired from Gaza by Hamas and its allies, 85-90 percent of the total rockets fired at Israeli population centers.
US Senate Appropriations Defense subcommittee have recently backed the Israeli Government request for $621.6 million in 2015 for Israeli missile defense programs in general, including $351 million allocated specifically for Iron Dome.
“If we did not have it and the rockets were falling in Israel, killing people, then the Israeli army would have little choice but to enter Gaza on foot to get rid of the place where the rockets are coming from,” former Israeli defense minister Amir Peretz and architect of the Iron Dome program told The Washington Post on Tuesday.
The United Nations has revealed that at least 1,037 civilians have now been killed in Yemen since the end of March.
It has warned Saudi Arabia and its allies – which began a bombing campaign in Yemen eight weeks ago – as well as Huthi rebels and other militia groups to adhere to obligations under international law not to harm civilians.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) estimates that of the more than 1,000 dead, at least 130 are women and 234 children. A total of 2,453 civilians have been injured.
“There has also been massive destruction of civilian infrastructure, particularly in Aden and Sada’ah,” Cécile Pouilly, OHCHR spokesperson told reporters in Geneva.
Saudi Arabia in April announced an end to Operation Decisive Storm – under which it had pounded Sana’a and Huthi towns and cities in the north with air strikes.
But the war has continued, with Huthi making gains in the southern city of Aden and even attacking Saudi border posts in the north.
Saudi airstrikes have continued to pound Yemen in recent weeks, although a five-day humanitarian took place between 12 May and 17 May.
Violence resumed in Yemen this week, with airstrikes in Aden, Ibb, Sada’ah, Dhale, and Sana’a, OHCHR said.