ACLS

Israel Controls Philadelphia Axis; Houthis Take UN Hostages; Egypt Faces US Criticism

Table of Contents

Listen to this article

TOP HEADLINES

  • Israeli Army Takes Full Control of Contentious Philadelphia Axis
  • Israeli airstrikes hit Hezbollah; counterattack kills Israeli soldier
  • Houthis Take Dozens of UN Workers Hostage to Pressure West
  • IRGC Operatives Conceal Identity in European Ports
  • McCaul Calls Egyptians “Liars” in Heated Diplomatic Call

=======================

★ ISRAEL & PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES

  1. Israeli Army Takes Full Control of Contentious Philadelphia Axis

The Israeli army has announced its full control over the Philadelphia axis, a strategic and contentious border area with Egypt. This critical development began with the takeover of the Kerem Shalom crossing, effectively closing the last available aid route to Gaza. Israeli forces have advanced, securing the western region of Rafah and positioning tanks along the 14-kilometer border. Intense clashes have occurred between Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters, resulting in casualties on both sides. Despite the ongoing military operations and significant destruction, hopes remain high among Gaza Strip residents for a return to their homes. Daily, displaced families in Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital courtyard inquire about news on ceasefires and the possibility of returning home, as relayed live during a live interview with the Al Hadath TV channel correspondent.

  1. Reservists’ Vehicles Crushed by IDF Tank; Violence Erupts in West Bank

IDF tanks crushed reservists’ vehicles parked in an unauthorized area near the Gaza border. The reservists had left their cars on the roadside near an agricultural zone when two of them were run over by a tank. The incident occurred on a route used by armored vehicles moving from the combat zone to gathering areas. An agricultural worker documented the aftermath. The IDF stated that the vehicles were in an unauthorized parking area and has launched an investigation into the incident. Meanwhile, Jewish extremists rioted in Qusra, West Bank, burning fields and throwing stones at Palestinians. The violence escalated when Palestinians retaliated, and Israeli troops intervened, injuring two Palestinians. Hadash-Ta’al MK Ofer Cassif condemned the incident as part of ongoing settler violence. The Israel Defense Forces have not commented.  The Israeli army has expressed concern that the government’s financial cut-off to the Palestinian Authority could spark a third intifada in the West Bank. A Palestinian official warns that Israel’s withholding of $1.61 billion in tax revenues could lead to the collapse of the Palestinian Authority. Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich refuses to disburse funds, accusing the PA of supporting Hamas. The World Bank and international bodies have highlighted the urgent need for the release of these funds to prevent economic and humanitarian disaster in the West Bank. The PA relies heavily on these revenues, which constitute 65% of its income.

  1. Sinwar Rejects Biden Proposal, Demands Permanent Ceasefire and Weapons

In his first response to President Joe Biden’s proposal to end the eight-month-long Israeli war in Gaza, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar set two conditions: Israel must commit to a permanent ceasefire, and Hamas will not disarm. Hamas leader Osama Hamdan dismissed Biden’s ceasefire agreement as “just words,” citing the lack of written commitments. Negotiations, facilitated by Egypt, Qatar, and the US, continue amidst ongoing Israeli bombardments. Biden’s proposal includes a three-stage plan for ending the conflict, releasing prisoners, and reconstructing Gaza without Hamas in power. Meanwhile, Israel awaits a response, with internal pressures influencing Prime Minister Netanyahu’s stance. The conflict has resulted in over 36,600 deaths.

  1. Israel Accused of Using Starvation in Gaza; 15 Killed in Latest Strikes

Israeli airstrikes killed 15 Palestinians in Gaza’s central region, according to Al Jazeera. Human Rights Watch reported Israel’s use of starvation as a weapon in the conflict. The strikes hit multiple locations, including Al-Zawaida and Al-Maghazi camps, resulting in numerous casualties. In Rafah, Israeli tank fire killed two and injured others. Additional bombings targeted the Al-Sabra neighborhood and Abu Holi area, causing more deaths and injuries. An Israeli bombing of a UNRWA school in Nusseirat camp, Gaza, used American-made munitions, CNN reports. The strike, targeting Hamas members, resulted in at least 40 casualties, including women and children. US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller deferred questions on American weapon use to Israel. UNRWA condemned the attack, emphasizing the school’s role as a refuge for 6,000 displaced people. An AP analysis of data from Gaza’s health ministry shows a significant drop in the proportion of women and children killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict. While 64% of the identified deaths in October were women and children, this fell to 38% in April.

  1. US Urges Gantz to Stay in Israeli Government

The US is urging Benny Gantz, a key member of Israel’s War Council, to remain in the government despite his threat to resign if no new Gaza war plan is adopted by June 8. Washington views Gantz as a crucial partner and is actively trying to prevent his departure. Gantz has received numerous appeals from families of kidnapped individuals urging him to stay until a deal with Hamas is reached. Netanyahu scheduled a ministerial discussion for June 9, a day after Gantz’s deadline. Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot have previously threatened withdrawal due to disagreements with Netanyahu over Gaza’s control. Gantz’s plan includes six goals, including defeating Hamas and disarming Gaza.

  1. Flawed Hamas Data Reveals Drop in Gaza Civilian Casualties

An analysis by the Associated Press found that the proportion of women and children killed in the Israel-Hamas conflict dropped from 64% in October to 38% in April, according to data from Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry. The data, however, contrasts with the ministry’s public claims that most casualties are women and children. The decline aligns with Israel’s tactical shift from heavy aerial bombardments to targeted drone strikes and ground operations. Inconsistent record-keeping and unverified figures have led to international scrutiny. The findings raise questions about the accuracy of casualty reports and the true impact of the conflict on civilians.

  1. Majority of Israelis Support Broad War Against Hezbollah

A new poll reveals that 62% of Israelis favor a large-scale war against Hezbollah, despite ongoing border confrontations and recent displacements due to the Gaza conflict. Only 18% oppose this move, while 20% are undecided. Support spans across political lines, with 84% of right-wing and 56% of center-left voters in favor. 

  1. Breaking: Israel Added to UN ‘List of Shame’

For the first time, Israel has been added to the United Nations’ “list of shame” for alleged wartime children’s rights violations, joining Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. This controversial decision, revealed to Israeli officials today, has sparked outrage in Jerusalem, with implications for Israel’s international image and its ties with the UN. The report, set for release next Friday, includes accusations against Israel for its actions in the ongoing conflict in Gaza and the West Bank.

=======================

★ LEBANON

  1. Israeli Airstrikes Hit Hezbollah, Resulting in Destruction; Hezbollah Responds, Killing Israeli Soldier

Overnight, Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes in southern Lebanon, targeting Kasarat Al-Aroush in Jabal Al-Rayhan, Ramia, and Kafr Kila, resulting in widespread destruction and panic among civilians.The Israeli army reported targeting Hezbollah military buildings and positions. Israeli official Benny Gantz urged northern local authorities to prepare for “more difficult days,” potentially leading to war. Israeli military options include a potential ground invasion to push Hezbollah’s Radwan Division from the border, though current policy focuses on defeating Hamas in Gaza. Subsequently, Hezbollah launched counterattacks, including a missile strike on Israel’s 91st Division headquarters. In the past 24 hours, the conflict has led to the death of an Israeli soldier and several injuries from drone attacks launched by Hezbollah. The violence has prompted the Israeli government to warn local authorities to prepare for a potential escalation into a broader war. Despite diplomatic efforts by the United States and France to de-escalate the situation, tensions remain high, with the potential for Iranian involvement looming over the conflict.

=======================

★ YEMEN

  1. Houthis Take Dozens of UN Workers Hostage to Pressure West

Today, Yemen’s Houthis detained over 35 humanitarian workers, including UN personnel, in a series of raids across Sanaa and other cities. Security forces confiscated personal devices during the arrests. The detainees face charges of espionage, with fears of torture and potential death sentences. The circumstances behind these dangerous detentions remain unclear, raising urgent concerns over the safety and future of international aid in the region. Analysts suggest these raids are a response to escalating financial strain and intensified airstrikes from a U.S.-led coalition. They believe the Houthis are attempting to launch a different type of war against the U.S. and Western organizations, targeting those providing aid to Yemen.

  1. Al-Houthi Threatens to Strike Beyond Haifa

The Yemeni Armed Forces, in cooperation with the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, announced a significant operation targeting the port of Haifa, marking the fourth phase of their escalation against Israel. Muhammad Ali Al-Houthi, a member of the Supreme Political Council, stated that their operations have reached Haifa and could extend beyond if Israeli and American actions in Gaza do not cease. 

  1. Explosions Near Mokha and Houthi Strikes Highlight Intensifying Conflict

An explosion took place near a vessel in the Red Sea about 19 nautical miles west of the Yemeni port city of Mokha, citing British security firm Ambrey. Additionally, there were reports of two explosions near a vessel 27 miles south of Mokha. American and British forces carried out four air strikes on Hodeidah Airport and the port of Al-Salif

=======================

★ IRAN

  1. Khamenei Enforces Control, Supports Haqanian, Ghalibaf Faces IRGC Pressure

Supreme Leader Khamenei urges candidates to avoid slander and swiftly appoints Mohammad Mokhber following Ebrahim Raisi’s death. Intelligence Minister Esmail Khatib warns against “subversive” narratives, and the Press Supervisory Board threatens 74 lashes for election-related violations. The Election Commission bans candidate photos with Khamenei and the late Khomeini to prevent false implications of endorsement, showing the already beginning internal power struggles. Vahid Haqanian, a former aide to Khamenei, enters the presidential race, sparking criticism from IRGC media affiliates who promote Speaker Mohammad-Bagher Ghalibaf. Ghalibaf’s last-minute registration, allegedly due to IRGC pressure, contrasts with attacks on ultra-hardliner opponents. Internal conflicts, difficulty replacing key officials, and low voter turnout amid public discontent indicate growing instability. The public’s awareness that Khamenei ultimately decides the presidential candidate further diminishes electoral legitimacy, reflecting a regime struggling to maintain its support base.

  1. Iran Criticizes US and E3 Over Nuclear Deal Strategy

An aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader accused the US and the E3 (France, Britain, and Germany) of playing “good cop, bad cop” to manipulate Iran’s responses. This follows a UN resolution censuring Iran’s nuclear activities, supported by 20 countries but opposed by China and Russia. The US had initially resisted the resolution, fearing Iran’s escalation. Iran, citing US withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018, continues to expand its nuclear program. The IAEA reports Iran’s uranium enrichment is nearing weapons-grade, though Tehran insists its program is for civilian purposes.

  1.  IRGC Operatives Conceal Identity in European Ports

Operatives purportedly from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are allegedly entering European ports incognito aboard Iranian ships. Sources, speaking to Iran International on condition of anonymity, claim these individuals may be armed and not disclosing their identities, potentially bypassing sanctions to conduct espionage. The European Union, which has imposed sanctions on IRGC affiliates, faces challenges in monitoring armed guards in its ports. The IRGC’s alleged maritime smuggling, possibly transporting weaponry for proxies, underscores regional tensions and raises concerns for European security.

  1. Alleged $47.5 Billion Iran Oil Project Launch Likely Propaganda

Iranian Oil Minister Javad Oji announced $47.5 billion in oil and gas projects, claiming significant production increases. However, this announcement likely violates U.S. and European sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector for its financial support of the IRGC-QF​​. Recent U.S. Congressional efforts aim to tighten these sanctions further, potentially reducing Iran’s revenue by targeting its main clients, such as China and India​​. Given these circumstances, the announcement may be part of a propaganda strategy by Iranian leadership to project economic strength despite facing financial difficulties​.

=======================

★ EGYPT

  1. McCaul Calls Egyptians “Liars” in Heated Diplomatic Call

Following last month’s accusations against Egypt of proposing a different Gaza ceasefire plan than what mediators discussed, new details have emerged. American lawmakers, including Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, Congressman Mark Pocan, and Congressman Michael McCaul, claimed a heated call occurred with Egyptian Ambassador Moataz Zahran. During the call, Kaptur questioned Zahran about Egypt’s “lost credibility,” to which he angrily responded, “How can we lose our credibility if Israel and Hamas are in Cairo to negotiate?” Pocan added, “We were very clear with him, and we demanded that Egypt bear its responsibilities.” McCaul went further, calling the Egyptians “liars.” The call’s tension reflected broader criticisms from US Congress members who accused Egypt and Qatar of mishandling ceasefire negotiations and closing the Rafah crossing, which Egypt denies. The situation remains strained as accusations persist regarding Egypt’s role and credibility in the ongoing Gaza conflict.

  1. IMF Approves $820 Million Disbursement for Egypt

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved the release of $820 million to Egypt following the successful completion of the third review under the Extended Fund Facility agreement. This decision is part of a broader $8 billion program aimed at stabilizing Egypt’s economy through comprehensive reforms. The IMF praised Egypt’s recent efforts to restore economic stability but emphasized the need for continued stringent monetary policies to curb inflation and maintain a flexible exchange rate. The funds are expected to support Egypt’s ongoing fiscal reforms and enhance investment in key sectors like health and education

  1. Egypt’s Green Methanol Demand Sparks New Facility

AD Ports, Transmar, and Orascom Construction have partnered to develop a green methanol storage and export facility in Egypt. The initiative responds to the expected surge in demand for methanol, with over 100 methanol-fueled ships anticipated to be in service by 2026. According to Drewry and Clarksons, the methanol-fueled vessel fleet is projected to rise from 2% to 14% of the global fleet, highlighting the growing need for sustainable fuel solutions in maritime shipping.

=======================

★ THE GULF

  1. UAE Foreign Minister Calls Palestinian Authority Leadership ‘Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves’

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan criticized the Palestinian Authority leadership, calling them “Ali Baba and the forty thieves” during an April 29 meeting in Riyadh. The meeting, attended by top Arab diplomats and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, erupted into a shouting match over the lack of reforms in the PA. Sheikh Abdullah questioned why the UAE should provide assistance without significant reforms, leading to a heated exchange with PA official Hussein al-Sheikh. The incident highlighted frustrations with the PA’s governance and the need for substantial changes.

====================

★ IRAQ

  1. Iraqi Government Anticipates Strikes on Iran-Backed Militias Soon

The Iraqi government is bracing for imminent strikes on pro-Iranian militias due to recent escalations in attacks on Israel. Tensions have risen following drone strikes by the Houthi group on Haifa, supported by Iraq’s Islamic Resistance. The use of advanced weaponry has complicated defense efforts. Iraqi factions, driven by internal power struggles and regional dynamics, continue their offensive despite Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani’s attempts to mitigate the situation. Washington is increasingly concerned, emphasizing its support for Israel and warning against regional conflicts involving pro-Iranian groups.

  1. Iran Moves to Reorganize Iraqi Shiite Political Landscape Ahead of Elections

Facing internal divisions, Iran is taking steps to unify Shiite factions in Iraq in preparation for the upcoming parliamentary elections. Tehran has urged Iraqi Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani to run on the lists of the coordination framework, a coalition of Shiite forces loyal to Iran. This move aims to solidify Iran’s influence and address internal rifts that threaten its interests. The return of Muqtada al-Sadr to the political arena adds complexity to the situation, as his strong participation could challenge Iran’s strategic plans. Despite Iran’s internal challenges following the death of President Ibrahim Raisi, its focus remains on maintaining control over its proxies in Iraq.

  1. Iranian-Led Attacks on US Brands in Baghdad Escalate

Recent assaults on US-linked businesses in Baghdad, such as KFC and Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken, highlight growing anti-US sentiment driven by Washington’s support for Israel in the Gaza conflict. Orchestrated by supporters of Iran-backed militias, these attacks aim to deter American presence and bolster militia influence. The Iraqi government, balancing relations with the US and Iran, faces pressure as Prime Minister Muhammad Shia al-Sudani seeks to maintain foreign investments and security. Arrests have been made, but concerns remain over further violence and the broader impact on Iraq’s stability and economic growth.

=======================

★ SYRIA

  1. Biden Administration Extends Sanction Exemptions on Assad’s Regime

The Biden administration has extended its sanction exemptions on the Assad regime, which some critics argue could facilitate sanctions evasion due to lax enforcement. The updated policy continues to exclude areas controlled by the Assad regime from sanctions, which some view as a softening stance towards Assad. This approach is seen as an effort to appease Iran, reflecting broader geopolitical considerations. The decision follows significant financial aid pledges for Syrian refugees at a recent European Union conference in Brussels, highlighting the administration’s strategy to balance humanitarian efforts with political realities. The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Department of the Treasury announced these exemptions, targeting areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the northeast and northwest. These areas will now benefit from various non-commercial projects by NGOs, including humanitarian aid, education, and cultural preservation. Despite these continued exemptions, regions under the control of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham in Idlib remain under sanctions.

=======================

★ TURKIYE

  1. Turkish Parliament to Discuss Revoking Citizenship of Israelis in Gaza War

The Turkish Parliament is set to debate a draft law that would strip citizenship from Turkish nationals who participated in the Gaza conflict as part of the Israeli military. This move, proposed by the Islamist-oriented Hoda Bar Party, has sparked significant controversy and debate on social media and within the political arena. The proposal also includes severe penalties for crimes against humanity. Opposition and public figures demand accountability and action, highlighting the tension between maintaining international relations and addressing the involvement of dual citizens in foreign conflicts. The government’s stance remains uncertain as discussions progress.

  1. US Advances F-16 Deal While Denying Turkiye’s Gulen Extradition Requests

The United States has made a significant move in negotiations for Turkiye to obtain advanced F-16 Block 70 fighters, as highlighted by US Ambassador Jeff Flake. Despite this progress, the US has rejected seven requests from Turkiye over the past eight years to extradite Fethullah Gulen, accused of orchestrating the 2016 coup attempt. This dual dynamic presents challenges in US-Turkiye relations, with Washington emphasizing the need for conclusive evidence against Gulen. Meanwhile, Turkiye has pursued extraditions of Gulen movement members globally, retrieving 132 individuals so far. On the political front, President Erdogan plans a visit to the opposition Republican People’s Party, signaling potential political normalization and discussions of early elections.

  1. Turkiye Turns to BRICS for Economic and Strategic Gains

Turkiye is aligning with BRICS to benefit from its growing global trade share, aiming for access to the BRICS New Development Bank and investment opportunities. Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan’s visit to China highlighted new cooperation in maintaining global supply chains and strategic security. Both nations support a multipolar world order and aim to integrate the Belt and Road Initiative with Turkiye’s Central Corridor. Turkiye’s mediation in Hamas-Al-Fatah talks in China and support for China’s Ukraine plan show aligned policies. With trade between Turkiye and China nearing $50 billion, economic collaboration in energy and technology is set to grow. Turkiye’s interest in BRICS membership and upcoming summit participation emphasize its strategic shift towards multilateral economic development.

=======================

📌 In case you missed it,

📰 THE EARLY PHOENIX June 6, 2024

📰 THE EARLY PHOENIX June 5, 2024

📰 THE EARLY PHOENIX June 4, 2024

📰 THE EARLY PHOENIX June 3, 2024

=======================

🔗 Follow the latest news from the American Center for Levant Studies via Google News

    Subject:

    Your Voice:

    Your Name

    Your Email

    Word File:

    To subscribe to our daily mailing list, fill out the following form:

    Scroll to Top

    To subscribe to our daily mailing list, fill out the following form: