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Kerry angered by Israeli minister's sharp criticism
Published Thursday 20/03/2014 (updated) 22/03/2014 21:26
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US Secretary of State John Kerry makes a statement to the press after
a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas at the presidential
compound, on January 4, 2014, in Ramallah (AFP/Brendan Smialowski)
WASHINGTON (AFP) -- In a rare move, Secretary of State John Kerry protested Wednesday to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about strong criticism of US foreign policy by his outspoken defense minister.

In a telephone call, Kerry told Netanyahu the comments made by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon were inconsistent with strong ties between Israel and the United States, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

"Clearly his comments were not constructive," Psaki told reporters, after Yaalon accused the US administration of showing weakness around the world, particularly on its policy with Iran and Ukraine.

"Secretary Kerry spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning and protested to him his concerns about these comments," she said, adding that the United States has an "unshakeable commitment" to Israel's security.

"It is certainly confusing to us why Defense Minister Yaalon would continue his pattern of making comments that don't accurately represent the scope of our close partnership on a range of security issues and on the enduring partnership between the United States and Israel."

But Kerry has a "thick skin" and "we're ready to move forward and keep talking about the peace process," Psaki added.

In a later statement issued by the Israeli defense minister's office after he spoke with his US counterpart Chuck Hagel, Yaalon said: "There was in my comments no criticism or intention to offend the United States."

"The strategic relations between our countries is of supreme importance as are personal relations at every level. I highly value the relations between Israel and the United States."

It is not Yaalon's first diatribe against the administration of President Barack Obama and Kerry himself.

In January, the State Department denounced as "offensive" comments made by the minister accusing Kerry of an "incomprehensible obsession" with his push for Middle East peace.

Yaalon was later forced to apologize to the top US diplomat, who has been trying to hammer out for the past year a comprehensive peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians.

In an address to Tel Aviv University, Yaalon was quoted as saying Tuesday that if the United States continued to demonstrate weakness overseas, its own security would be harmed.

"If you sit and wait at home, terrorism will come again," the Haaretz daily quoted him as saying.

"If your image is feebleness, it doesn't pay in the world... I hope the United States comes to its senses. If it doesn't, it will challenge the world order and the United States is the one that will suffer."

He also toughened his line on Iran and appeared ready to back an Israeli military strike.

"We had thought the ones who should lead the (military) campaign against Iran is the United States... But at some stage, the United States entered into negotiations with them, and unhappily, when it comes to negotiating at a Persian bazaar, the Iranians were better," he said.
1 ) AKeenReader / UK
20/03/2014 11:29
Israel continues to degrade the US and yet they continue to give them $3 billion every year. Shows US's weakness and the control which the jewish lobbies have on the US Congress. They are making a mockary of US and then apologise.

20/03/2014 13:56

3 ) JoeUSA / USA
20/03/2014 19:10
I am glad Yaalon speaks the truth about how Israelis feel about the USA. The US kisses , and Israel says , you do not kiss sweet enough. The only one to blame are the US politicians who insist on keeping this parasitic relationship with the Zionists entity. Go Yaalon Go.

4 ) Uwe / Sweden
20/03/2014 21:06
Hmm. This old tire is starting to show it's threads. Not much longer before it goes flat.

5 ) Maureen / Australia
20/03/2014 21:33
#2 Yaalon knows who is the real power in Washington - revisionist Zionists. Pathetic really, such a noise against Russia coming from the White House while ignoring Israel's belligerent occupation and inhumanities it has carried out in Palestine for over sixty years.

6 ) Mel / USA
21/03/2014 00:49
Yaalon has no compassion for others,just MANAGING others,even without their consent,or despite their wishes.Yaalon associates anything not pre-emptively aggressive as "feeble"?Must people remember PRE-emption as a might o'er right war-crime too.Yaalon likes to think that,"We(Israel) are so patronizing & feel so powerful that we feel we can solve everything...".In that respect he &Kerry are the same.Both feel they(Israel/USG)have an exceptional right to"manage"others affairs,with/out rule of law!

7 ) Bemused / New Zealand
21/03/2014 03:40
Is that another thinly-disguised terrorist threat by Israel against the US, perchance?

8 ) jagged edge / USA
21/03/2014 05:24
Inconsistent with the strong ties, you say ? Well, Mr. Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, you best brush up on how to deal with your betters and practice the seemingly lost art of Diplomacy when speaking of the man that represents the Country that your little sliver of land depends upon to even exist. How dare you threaten the USA with Another of your dastardly 911 type, so-called Terrorist Attacks. You will find that we did not all roll in on that turnip truck...so watch your language, Sir.

9 ) Reality Check / The World
30/03/2014 23:35
Unfortunately for Israel, they cannot criticize the US to sharply, they are too important of an ally. Unfortunately for the US, everything Yaalon has said is undeniably true. The US has lost Egypt and Turkey, have lost their deterrent capabilities against Iran and Syria by not acting on their red lines. Alienated their allies in the Gulf, by throwing their weight behind the MB in Egypt and failing to stop Irans nuclear program, and now Russia is testing their boundaries with the Crimean affair.
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