Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi said on Saturday that Israel was ready to act against the Houthis in Yemen if the US and its allies do not.
“Israel is giving the world some time to organize in order to prevent this but if there isn’t to be a global arrangement, because it is a global issue, we will act in order to remove this naval siege,” Hanegbi told Israel’s Channel 12.
The Houthis have been targeting Israeli-linked commercial vessels and firing missiles and drones at Israel in response to the Israeli onslaught in Gaza. Hanegbi’s comments came after reports that said the Biden administration told Israel to leave it to the US to take care of the Houthis.
US officials have told POLITICO that the Biden administration is not planning to strike the Houthis, at least for now. The US has backed a Saudi-led coalition in a war against the Houthis since 2015, although a ceasefire has held relatively well since April 2022. Any US attacks on the Houthis could threaten the truce.
For the time being, the US is looking to form an international naval task force to get its allies to help protect commercial shipping in the Red Sea. The Houthis have shown no sign of backing down as they warned they would target any ships that are bound for Israel. On Sunday, the French military said a French frigate shot down two drones in the Red Sea that were fired from Yemen.
The situation in Yemen and the Red Sea is just one area where Israel’s assault on Gaza is spilling out into the region. Israel and Hezbollah have been trading fire across Israel’s northern border, and Israeli officials are now threatening war in Lebanon if Hezbollah does not move back from the border.
When asked if there was a chance of war in Lebanon, Hanegbi said, “The situation in the north must be changed. And it will change. If Hezbollah agrees to change things via diplomacy, very good. But I don’t believe it will.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened major destruction in Beirut if the situation with Hezbollah escalates into a full-blown war. “If Hezbollah decides to open an all-out war, then with its own hands it will turn Beirut and southern Lebanon, which are not far from here, into Gaza and Khan Yunis,” he said.
Axios reported last month that some US officials were concerned that Israel might purposefully provoke Hezbollah as a pretext to launch a wider war in Lebanon.