Widespread anger in Yemen after UAE brings Israeli tourists to Socotra island
Photos have been posted online of Israeli tourists transported by the United Arab Emirates to the strategic Yemeni island of Socotra for vacation, causing widespread outrage among Yemeni people.
Social media users have circulated pictures of the tourists hiking in the mountains of Socotra Island, some of whom were posing with the Israeli regime’s flag.
The media activists emphasized that the Israelis are under full security protection wherever they go, in a move deliberately intended to arouse the feelings of Yemeni people.
“Israeli tourists are acting outrageously to the extent that they fearlessly hoist the regime’s flag before anyone during their sightseeing tours in Socotra,” a social media user named Ben Ghalib wrote.
Last May, the Sana’a-based Yemeni National Salvation Government strongly condemned the United Arab Emirates for the transfer of Israeli tourists to the strategic island of Socotra on Emirati visas.
It said in a statement at the time that the UAE's measure violates international law, given that Socotra is a Yemeni island occupied by the aggressor countries of the Saudi-led coalition.
The United Arab Emirates has reportedly established an intelligence center for the Israeli air force on the strategic Yemeni island of Socotra.
“The transfer of tourists to the Socotra Island reveals the plans and programs of the occupying UAE, which are in line with the Zionist schemes to dominate Yemeni islands as well as the steps towards normalization with the regime,” the statement read.
Home to some 60,000 people, Socotra overlooks the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, a main shipping route that connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. It has a unique ecosystem.
The French-language news outlet JForum said in August 2020 that Israel, in cooperation with the UAE, was planning to build intelligence-gathering bases on the Socotra island.
The purpose of the bases, according to the report, is to electronically monitor Saudi-led forces waging a war on Yemen.
Israel and the UAE are currently making all logistical preparations to establish intelligence bases to collect information from across the Gulf of Aden, including Bab el-Mandeb and south of Yemen, which is under the control of forces backed by the UAE, the report said.
Socotra has been a source of tension between the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which have been vying for control of the resource-rich island.
UAE-backed separatists of the so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC) took control of Socotra in June 2020, in a move described by the administration of fugitive former Yemeni president, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, as “a full-fledged coup.”