Pro-Israel News

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Supreme leader says he won’t allow Iranian scientists to be ‘interrogated’ by foreigners

BY AFP, AP AND TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF May 20, 2015, 1:47 pm | The Times of Israel| 


Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday ruled out allowing nuclear inspectors to visit military sites or to question scientists, state media reported.

“We have already said that we will not allow any inspections of military sites by foreigners,” the official IRNA news agency quoted him as saying.

“They also say that we must allow interviews with nuclear scientists. This is interrogation. I will not allow foreigners to come and talk to scientists who have advanced the science to this level,” Khamenei said.


Other Iranian officials have repeatedly claimed that inspectors would not be given freedom of access to nuclear facilities — directly contradicting US officials who tout comprehensive inspections as being a key element of a final deal.

Khamenei’s statements came as experts from Iran and six world powers prepared to launch a new round of negotiations focused on reaching a deal that curbs Iran’s nuclear program.

Diplomats said ahead of Wednesday’s meeting that progress is being made but significant gaps remain on a main document and technical annexes ahead of an end-of-June deadline.

Iran’s team is led by Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi. EU official Helga Schmidt is heading the other side. Senior officials from the US, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany may join in later.


The deal aims for strict limits on Iranian nuclear capabilities that could be used to make weapons. Tehran denies any interest in such arms but is negotiating for a lifting of sanctions.

The diplomats demanded anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss the talks.

A framework agreement — reached at the beginning of April and set to be finalized by June 30 — called for a scaling back of Iran’s uranium enrichment program along with comprehensive inspections of its nuclear facilities to ensure it is not developing atomic weapons. In return, Iran demanded that global sanctions that have crippled its economy be lifted.


A fact sheet on the framework accord issued by the State Department at the time said Iran would be required to grant the UN nuclear agency access to any “suspicious sites.”

Iran has questioned that and other language in the fact sheet, notably that sanctions would only be lifted after the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified Tehran’s compliance. Iran’s leaders have said the sanctions should be lifted on the first day of the implementation of the accord.

Less than a week after the framework agreement was reached, Iranian Defense minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehgan made it clear thatinternational inspectors would not be granted access to the state’s military sites under the terms of the deal.


No such agreement has been reached and basically, visiting military centers are among the red lines and no visit to these centers will be allowed,” Dehgan said, according to Iranian media reports quoting a Defense Ministry statement.

Later that month Gen. Hossein Salami, deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard also said that inspectors would be barred from military sites under any nuclear agreement and that allowing such check ups would be tantamount to “selling out.”

Those opposing the deal, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials, have criticized the terms of the framework agreement for not completely removing Iran’s ability to enrich uranium or to work towards producing a nuclear weapon

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

By JPOST.COM STAFF \05/19/2015 13:59| The Jerusalem Post| 


The 34th Government of Israel convened at the Presidential Residence in Jerusalem for the presidential reception and to take the official ceremonial photograph.

Standing at the podium alongside President Reuven Rivlin, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he will make every effort to bring about an agreement with the Palestinians that will maintain Israeli security.


He said that the first task of the new government will be to protect the country against threats from Israel's enemies in the region. Netanyahu also said that lowering the cost of living is a top priority.  

Last week Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s 20-minister government was sworn in following a slew of problems with Likud cabinet appointments. The Knesset approved the government 61-59 just after 11 p.m.


Netanyahu’s No. 2 in the Likud, MK Gilad Erdan, refused to enter the cabinet, declining the prime minister’s offer to serve as public security minister. He had demanded the Foreign Minister position, which Netanyahu has kept for himself in case he will be able to expand his coalition later on. But Erdan later showed up at the Knesset and voted in favor of the new government, enabling it to be approved.

"The swearing-in of a Likud government is a happy occasion but I am sad personally about the developments with me," Erdan said.

Initially, several ministers also declined Netanyahu’s offers, including new Interior Minister Silvan Shalom, Culture and Sport Minister, Miri Regev, Pensioner Affairs Minister Gila Gamliel and coalition chairman and Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Tzachi Hanegbi – but they all later relented.


To accept the challenging job of heading a coalition with just 61 MKs, Netanyahu had to promise Hanegbi that after a year he would join the cabinet in place of Ophir Akunis, who is a minister-without-portfolio. Netanyahu wanted Akunis to serve under him in the Communications Ministry, but Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein ruled that two ministers cannot serve in one ministry.

Gill Hoffman contributed to this report


Monday, May 18, 2015

Israelis ‘not the only ones’ who oppose accord, PM says, urging world powers to seek ‘a better deal’

BY AFP AND TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF May 17, 2015, 10:23 pm | The Times of Israel|


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday there was still time to stop an Iranian agreement with world powers that, he said, would give Tehran nuclear arms.


“It is still not too late to retract the plan” being negotiated between Iran and the world powers over Tehran’s nuclear program, he stated at a ceremony marking Israel’s capture of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War.

The United States as well as Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany are in the midst of negotiations with Tehran to finalize a deal by June 30 that they say would prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, in exchange for an easing of crippling economic sanctions.


Iran cannot be trusted to honor the nascent deal, Netanyahu has argued.

“Only last night, after vigorous action by the US against the terrorism of the Islamic State, the leader of Iran, [Ali] Khamenei, attacked the US and said: ‘It is the United States,’ so said the man who is heading the negotiations between Iran and the major powers, ‘that is causing and supports terrorism.’ These words were said when Iran still does not have nuclear weapons and it is still not too late to retract the plan to give Iran a deal that would pave for it a certain path to nuclear weapons,” he continued.

“We oppose this deal and we are not the only ones,” Netanyahu went on. “It is both necessary and possible to achieve a better deal because extremists cannot be allowed to achieve their aims, not in Iran, not in Yemen and not in Jerusalem.”


Arab and largely Sunni Muslim states of the Gulf fear a nuclear deal could be a harbinger of closer US ties with their Shiite arch-foe Iran, a country they also see as fueling conflicts in Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

US President Barack Obama tried to reassure America’s Gulf allies at a Camp David summit Thursday that engaging with Iran would not come at their expense.

Iran has long asserted its nuclear program is for peaceful energy purposes, and that international concern about it seeking a nuclear bomb is misplaced.

Friday, May 15, 2015

UN sanctions compliance panel says Tehran tried to purchase compressors from US corporation using fake documentation

BY TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF May 15, 2015, 10:44 am| The Times of Israel| 


The Iranian government attempted to purchase technology that can be used in its nuclear program using false documentation in an attempt to bypass international sanctions, Reuters reported.


The attempted purchase was uncovered by Czech officials who managed to prevent the sale, according to the latest annual report of the UN Security Council’s Iran sanctions committee.

The incident is likely to bolster concerns that the Iranian regime may not adhere to a major nuclear deal Tehran is negotiating with world powers.

The report details Iran’s attempt to purchase compressors manufactured by the Prague-based American-owned company Howden CKD Compressors using a “false end user.”


“The procurer and transport company involved in the deal had provided false documentation in order to hide the origins, movement and destination of the consignment with the intention of bypassing export controls and sanctions,” the report said, according to Reuters.

Compressors of certain types — the exact type of compressor being purchased has not been reported — are useful in the uranium enrichment process required to produce both nuclear energy, and at higher levels of enrichment, also nuclear weapons.

The contract was valued at some $61 million. The parties attempting to make the purchase said the compressors were “needed for a compressor station, such as the kind used to transport natural gas from one relay station to another,” Reuters reports, citing a Czech official.


According to the UN panel, the Czech incident wasn’t the only piece of evidence Tehran is actively seeking to circumvent sanctions. Britain, the report said, had tracked another nuclear procurement network for Tehran.

Under an interim deal struck between world powers and Iran, the Islamic Republic agreed to scale back its nuclear activities, including stopping higher levels of enrichment, in exchange for a negotiated relief to international sanctions.

Israel and several Arab states have criticized the emerging deal. The US and other negotiating powers have said Iran has complied with the conditions set by the interim deal. A final nuclear deal is scheduled to be concluded at the end of June.

Thursday, May 14, 2015


Riyadh and other Gulf capitals reportedly will insist they will have ‘whatever the Iranians have,’ as Camp David summit gets underway

BY TIMES OF ISRAEL STAFF AND AP May 14, 2015, 12:26 pm| The Times of Israel| 


SAudi Arabian officials are warning that they will seek to match Iran’s nuclear arsenal, a US newspaper reported Thursday, as US President Barack Obama and leaders from six Gulf nations — including Riyadh — convened outside Washington to work through tensions sparked by the US bid for a nuclear deal with Tehran, a pursuit that has put regional partners on edge.

Along with Saudi Arabia, smaller Arab countries also say they also plan to pursue a nuclear weapons program to offset Iran’s, portending a much-feared nuclear arms race in the Middle East, according to the New York Times.


“We can’t sit back and be nowhere as Iran is allowed to retain much of its capability and amass its research,” one Arab leader attending the Camp David summit told theNew York Times.

The official, who was unnamed, said he and others will also make their case to Obama at the meeting Thursday.


Obama is seeking to reassure the Gulf leaders gathering at Camp David that US overtures to Iran will not come at the expense of commitments to their security. He is expected to offer them more military assistance, including increased joint exercises and coordination on ballistic missile systems.

Obama and the leaders from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain opened their talks with a private dinner Wednesday night at the White House. Just two heads of state are among those meeting Obama, with other nations sending lower-level but still influential representatives.


Arab and Israeli officials have lobbied against the deal, though Gulf states have kept their criticism more discreet. Yet leaders around the region have warned that Iranian nuclear development will lead them to also pursue nuclear programs of their own, a worrying idea in a part of the world already riven by violent conflicts.

“Whatever the Iranians have, we will have, too,” former Saudi intelligence head Prince Turki bin Faisal said last month at a special session of the Asan Plenum, a conference held by the South Korean-based Asan Institute for Policy Studies, according to the New York Times.


Faisal also warned that the Iranian nuclear deal “opens the door to nuclear proliferation, not closes it, as was the initial intention.”

When Thursday’s meetings at the presidential retreat in the Maryland mountains conclude, it’s unlikely Obama will have fully assuaged the Gulf’s deep-seated fear of Iranian meddling in the region.

“My guess is that the summit is going to leave everybody feeling a little bit unsatisfied,” said Jon Alterman, the Middle East director at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.


The most notable absence from the meeting is Saudi King Salman. On Sunday, Saudi Arabia announced that the king was skipping the summit, just two days after the White House said he was coming.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman were representing Saudi Arabia instead. They held a separate meeting with Obama before the other leaders arrived.

The president made no mention of Saudi skepticism of the Iran talks as he opened the meeting, but acknowledged the region is in the midst of a “very challenging time.”


The White House and Saudi officials insist the king is not snubbing Obama. But Salman’s conspicuous absence comes amid indisputable signs of strain in the long relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia, driven not only by Obama’s Iran overtures, but also the rise of Islamic State militants and a lessening US dependency on Saudi oil.

“There have been disagreements under this administration and under the previous administration about certain policies and development in the Middle East, but I think on a set of core interests, we continue to have a common view about what we aim to achieve,” said Ben Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser.


The Gulf summit comes as the US and five other nations work to reach an agreement with Iran by the end of June to curb its nuclear ambitions in exchange for relief from international economic sanctions. The Gulf nations fear that an influx of cash will only facilitate what they see as Iran’s aggression.

The White House says a nuclear accord could clear the way for more productive discussions with Iran about its reputed terror links. The US has criticized Iran’s support for Hezbollah, as well as terror attacks carried out by Iran’s Quds Force.

In 2011, the Obama administration accused Iran of plotting to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States in Washington.


The Saudis are also particularly concerned about the situation in Yemen, where Houthi rebels with ties with Iran have ousted the US- and Saudi-backed leader.

For more than a month, a Saudi-led coalition has tried to push back the Houthis with a relentless bombing campaign. On Tuesday, a five-day humanitarian ceasefire went into effect, though the pause in fighting was already at risk. A jet fighter from the Saudi coalition on Wednesday struck a military convoy belonging to Shiite rebels and their allies in southern Yemen.

Saudi officials cited the ceasefire as one of the reasons why King Salman needed to stay in Riyadh and not make the trip to the United States.


The Saudi king isn’t the only head of state sending a lower-level representative to the summit. The heads of the United Arab Emirates and Oman have had health problems and were not making the trip.

Bahrain’s royal court announced Wednesday that rather than travel to Washington, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa would be attending a horse show and meeting with Queen Elizabeth II.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

By SAM SOKOL \  05/12/2015 20:55| The Jerusalem Post| 


The international community should criminalize anti-Semitism and establish a multilateral body to monitor it, former Ministry of Foreign Affairs legal adviser Amb. Alan Baker asserted on Monday in the text of a draft international convention being promoted by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.

In 2013 Baker, who heads the think tank’s Institute for Contemporary Affairs, drafted a similar document banning inciting terrorism, which was promoted at the United Nations by former Israeli UN envoy Dore Gold but which does not seem to have gained much traction.

“The international community has never considered criminalizing anti-Semitism as an international crime, in a manner similar to the criminalization of genocide, racism, piracy, hostage-taking, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and terror,” Baker wrote in the introduction to the document, adding that one might have expected it do so in light of the recent wave of anti-Semitism that has swept Europe.

The lack of coordinated action on this matter is “clearly a vast international injustice,” he wrote, stating that his draft accord is intended to “universally criminalize anti-Semitism within the world community.”

According to Baker, any manifestation of anti-Semitism that results in violence or is meant to incite violence should be considered a crime under international law. He defined anti-Semitism as consisting of several phenomena, including Holocaust denial; expressions of hostility or demonstrations of violence toward Jews individually or as a religious, ethnic or racial collective; the use of “sinister stereotypes” and conspiracy theories “charging Jews with conspiring to harm humanity” and justifying the killing or harming of Jews.

The application of double standards against Israel “requiring of it a behavior not expected or demanded of any other democratic nation” and the vilification of Israeli leaders through comparisons to the Nazis are likewise manifestations of anti-Semitism, Baker averred.

He also took issue with those who use developments in the Middle East to justify attacks on Jews abroad, an apparent reaction to people like a German judge who recently ruled that an arson attack on a synagogue in Wuppertal by two Arabs was not anti-Semitic but rather motivated by a desire to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict.”

Aside from obligating signatories to promote educational programs for combating anti-Semitism and remembering the Holocaust, the draft convention would also establish an International anti-Semitism Monitoring Forum which would serve as a clearinghouse for national anti-Semitism statistics and would assist member states in preparing legislation banning anti-Semitism.

Both Europe and the United States have come under fire for their allegedly insufficient monitoring mechanisms.

Speaking with the Jerusalem Post last year, Anti-Defamation League national chairman Abe Foxman said that “there is no serious monitoring by continental entities” and that governments are “not doing their job, they’re not monitoring.”

Anti-Semitic violence rose by nearly 40 percent in 2014 over the previous year, according to a report by the Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry at Tel Aviv University released last month.

A total of 766 violent incidents were recorded worldwide, a "sharp increase" over the 554 tallied in 2013, according to the European Jewish Congress, which contributed to the report.

According to Baker, combating anti-Semitism requires its own treaty and structures unrelated to the general work of tackling racism because “by its very nature, with anti-Semitism’s long, bitter, and never-ending history, and its propensity to constantly re-appear in modern forms and contexts, it cannot and should not be equated with, linked to, or treated as any other form of racial discrimination.”

He condemned efforts within the international community to equate anti-Semitism with Islamophobia, calling hatred of Jews “a unique, sui generis phenomenon that must be dealt with independently.”

Earlier this year Jewish organizations worldwide expressed shock and dismay following the announcement that the European Commission is planning on holding a conference that implies an equivalence between anti-Semitism and Islamophobia

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


By SAM SOKOL \05/11/2015 03:40| The Jerusalem Post|

Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman says Europeans “have to change the way they are managing and monitoring everyday society,” like Americans did after 9/11.


The future of Jewish life in Europe will be in large part dependent on the way in which national leaders there respond to attacks on their freedom and liberty, Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

According to Foxman, who is in Jerusalem for the biennial Global Forum on anti-Semitism, Europeans need to begin examining the balance between freedom and security as Americans did following the September 11 attacks fourteen years ago.

After 9/11 Americans “were willing to make sacrifices in some of our basic freedoms,” ushering in the use of mass surveillance, profiling and other controversial measures whose propriety and legitimacy are still being debated today. While the exact balance between security and freedom is an open question, he said, in America “we are willing to pay a price to protect our traditions” and the question is if Europe is willing to do the same.

Europeans, Foxman said, “have to change the way they are managing and monitoring everyday society.” The Jewish community, he continued, is watching how their governments respond to see if their societies are “willing to fight for their freedom and liberty.”

Asked about critics of Europe such as Hebrew University anti-Semitism scholar Dr. Robert Wistrich, who have charged that Europeans are unwilling to recognize the role played by Islamic immigrants in the rising tide of Jew hatred, Foxman said that while it is certainly a problem, things are not as dire as may be thought.

“If you are not willing to recognize your enemy for who they are and name them” it will be hard to combat threats, he said. “So when [French President Francois] Hollande said after [January’s massacre at the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine that] this crime had nothing to do with Islam, who did it have to do with?” Despite the myopia and oversensitivity exhibited by some, however, the governments in Belgium and France are “addressing the underlying cause but are just unwilling to say so,” Foxman added.

“One should take a look at arrests [during the] last couple of months, they are from that community because that’s where threats come from. They are not comfortable publicly declaring we are ‘surveilling mosques,’” he explained.

According to Foxman, Jews in Europe are now, for the first time since the end of the Holocaust, confronted by three choices: assimilating so as not to be recognizably Jewish, defiantly remaining Jews and bearing the consequences or emigrating.

While a mass exodus of European Jews is unlikely in the short term and Jews worldwide must be concerned for the bulk of those who remain there, he said, it is important to “asses where exit strategies are more likely to happen sooner rather than later.”

Asked if he believed that the Europeans have done enough to protect their Jewish minorities, he said that from the point of view of those in danger it’s almost never enough but that he believes that local leaders have come a long way from a decade ago when there was widespread denial regarding the rise of anti-Semitism.

Now there is a more vocal response, a recognition of the issue and the deployment of security forces to protect Jewish institutions, he said, praising the progress that has been made.

Pointing to France, which recently announced that it will allocate significant funding to tolerance education, Foxman said that such moves are part of a “long-term process but has to begin somewhere.”

That being said he cautioned, legislation on issues of hate is not in short supply across Europe, but rather the “political will” to implement it is.

Monday, May 11, 2015

By HERB KEINON \05/10/2015 12:33| The Times of Israel| 


Preventing Iran from opening an additional front against Israel on the Golan Heights, as well as delivering Hamas the blow of its lifetime last summer, were among the outgoing government’s chief accomplishments, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday at the last meeting of the 33rd government.

At a brief cabinet meeting, Netanyahu summarized the outgoing cabinet’s achievements with a special emphasis on what he said were the government’s success – for the most part – at keeping the region’s tumultuous events from spilling over Israel’s borders.

The bulk of the cabinet meeting dealt with passing legislation that will raise the number of government ministers from 18 to 20.

“In the over two years of this government’s existence, since its first meeting, the region around us has been roiling and stormy,” he said “And despite the many attempts to challenge us on our borders, we rebuffed all of these attempts bar none.”

In addition to rebuffing Iran on the Golan, and Hamas in Gaza, Netanyahu also said Israel kept Hezbollah at bay in southern Lebanon, and thwarted “unceasing efforts to bring advanced weaponry from Syria to Lebanon.”

Above all, he said, the outgoing government “acted unceasingly against Iran’s attempts to arm itself with nuclear weapons. This effort is at its peak. We will not relent. We will continue to maintain Israel’s right to defend itself under any conditions and in any situation.”

Netanyahu said Israel’s attempts to make diplomatic progress with the Palestinians were foiled by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal to make “difficult decisions,” opting instead to abandon the negotiations with Israel, turn unilaterally to the international arena and enter an alliance with Hamas.

But while Netanyahu was blaming Abbas, the EU issued a statement slamming Israel for plans to build 900 more units in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo, and saying that “Israel’s determination to continue its settlement policy despite the urging of the international community, not only threatens the viability of the two-state solution but also seriously calls into question its commitment to a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians.”

Peace Now announced on Thursday that the Jerusalem District Planning Committee approved construction of 900 homes in the primarily haredi neighborhood just beyond the 1949 Armistice Line in the capital.

Friday, May 8, 2015


President hails ‘deep and abiding partnership’ between US and Israel, says he ‘looks forward to working’ with Netanyahu

BY TAMAR PILEGGI AND AFP May 7, 2015, 6:55 pm | The Times of Israel | 


US President Barack Obama congratulated Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday, a day after the prime minister announced he had forged a new coalition government.

“President Obama looks forward to working with Prime Minister Netanyahu,” the White House said, in a businesslike statement that followed fierce pre-election exchanges between the two men.


Immediately after the March 17 election, Obama administration officials had said they were “reevaluating” how best to pursue peace and defend Israel in international forums because of Netanyahu’s apparent retreat on the eve of balloting from embracing the two-state solution. Netanyahu told an Israeli website that he did not intend to preside over the establishment of a Palestinian state.

While Netanyahu said after the election that he did support a peaceful, “sustainable” two-state solution, administration officials made it clear that they were waiting to see if the new coalition would be willing to pursue a peace plan that included a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Unmoved by Netanyahu’s backtrack, Obama himself said that he took the prime minister “at his word.”

“As the President has emphasized, the United States places great importance on our close military, intelligence, and security cooperation with Israel, which reflects the deep and abiding partnership between both countries,” Thursday’s White House Press statement said.


“We also look forward to continuing consultations on a range of regional issues, including international negotiations to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon and the importance of pursuing a two-state solution,” the statement said.

The relationship between Obama and Netanyahu has become increasingly strained as a result of the prime minister’s outspoken criticism of the ongoing US-led nuclear negotiations with Iran.

The White House said Wednesday that Obama did not intend to meet with Netanyahu in the near future, and the president reportedly told Jewish leaders recently that he would not host the prime minister before the June 30 deadline for the Iran deal.

With less than two hours before his Wednesday night deadline, Netanyahu hammered out a deal with Jewish Home party leader Naftali Bennett, securing him a 61-seat coalition and the narrowest of Knesset majorities

Thursday, May 7, 2015

By REUTERS \05/07/2015 15:51\ The Jerusalem Post\ 


RIYADH - Saudi Arabia proposed a five-day humanitarian truce in Yemen on Thursday after weeks of airstrikes and fighting, but said a ceasefire depended on the Houthi militia and its allies also agreeing to lay down arms, Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, addressing a news conference alongside Jubeir in Riyadh, welcomed the proposal and added that neither Saudi Arabia nor the United States was talking about sending ground troops into Yemen.


Hundreds of civilians have been killed in air raids and fighting since a Saudi-led coalition began strikes against the Houthis on March 26, aimed at pushing the Iranian-allied militia back from captured areas and restoring President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi's government.

The fighting and a coalition arms embargo have also caused hunger and shortages of food and fuel, worsening Yemen's humanitarian crisis and prompting alarm around the world.


"The pause will affect all of Yemen for a period of five days. The actual date will be announced shortly as well as the requirements. This is all based on the Houthis complying with the ceasefire," Jubeir said.

Despite the airstrikes, the Houthis and forces loyal to a former president have remained entrenched in areas they seized earlier this year and on Wednesday took an important district in Aden, leading to speculation about a possible coalition land operation.

Kerry added that he was "very, very concerned" by Iranian activities in IraqYemen and elsewhere