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HOME  > Past issues  > 2024 January 17 - 23  > Stop armed attacks that expand military conflict in Middle East
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2024 January 17 - 23 [WORLD]

Stop armed attacks that expand military conflict in Middle East

January 18, 2024

Akahata editorial

Since Israel waged attacks on the Gaza Strip, military conflicts have spread across the Middle East, intensifying tensions in the region. On January 11, the U.S. and U.K. forces bombed facilities of the Houthi rebel group in Yemen in reaction to Houthi attacks on civilian vessels. However, their bombing constitutes an act of trampling on the UN Charter and international law. In addition, the bombing by the U.S. and U.K. is unacceptable in terms of deliberately escalating conflicts. The ongoing Israel’s onslaught of Gaza has sent ripples through surrounding areas such as Lebanon. The cycle of violence will lead to further serious consequences. The need is for parties concerned to exercise restraint. Above all, Israel must stop its lawless attacks on Gaza.

The bombing by US and UK tramples on UN Charter

Yemen is located at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, a doorway to the Red Sea. To the north of the Red Sea is the Suez Canal, an important sea route between the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Sea.

In October 2023, when Israel’s war on the Hamas militant group in Gaza escalated, the Houthis expressed their support for Hamas and declared that they will target ships heading to and leaving Israel. Since then, they have repeatedly conducted missile launches and militants’ attacks against cargo ships and other vessels passing through the Red Sea. Furthermore, they have hijacked ships and detained crewmembers. Regarding the bombing on January 11, U.S. President Biden issued a statement claiming that this act was taken in response to attacks against international maritime vessels.

It is unacceptable for the Houthis to fire at civilian vessels at random. The UN Charter and international law oblige peaceful resolutions to international conflicts, stipulating that the sovereignty and territory of each country should be protected. The bombings by the U.S. and U.K. trampled upon this principle.

The UNSC on January 10 adopted a resolution condemning the Houthi attacks on civilian ships based on the UN Charter stipulating the maintenance of international peace as well as on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea stipulating the legal order for the seas and oceans. At the same time, the UNSC called on the international community to respect Yemen’s sovereignty and the integrity of Yemen’s territory and avoid further escalation of the situation.

In Yemen, a civil war between the pro-government allied force led by Saudi Arabia and the Iran-backed Houthis took place over a long period of time. Mediated by the UN, a ceasefire was implemented. In April last year, negotiations began for peace. The UNSC resolution calls for support for further dialogue in the peace process.

The attacks by the U.S. and U.K forces are ignoring the UNSC resolution although they are standing members of the UNSC. Their acts may undermine the UN diplomatic efforts toward achieving peace in Yemen. In addition, their airstrikes turned out to be ineffective to stop the Houthis from firing at commercial vessels.

Exchanges of violence between Israel and the Iran-supported Lebanese Shiite militant group Hezbollah are intensifying as well. According to the UN, more than 10,000 Lebanese are being forced to take shelter. In January, a Hamas leader and a Hezbollah commander were killed in succession in Lebanon. Blaming Israel for the assassinations, the Hezbollah has proclaimed retaliation against Israel.

Israel should stop its lawlessness

The death toll has topped 24,000 due to Israeli strikes, according to the Gaza authorities. South Africa has filed a lawsuit with the International Court of Justice, claiming that Israel is infringing upon the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. As long as Israel continues its outrageous assaults, there remains a risk of fiercer armed conflict. The international community should make every possible diplomatic effort to achieve a ceasefire without delay.

Past related article:
> JCP deplores bombings by US and UK against targets in Yemen
[January 13, 2024]
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