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January 14, 2014 8:37 pm

After U.S. Insists, Ya’alon Apologizes for Blunt Remarks About Kerry, Peace Process

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Israel's Defense Minister Moshe "Bogie" Ya'alon. Photo: Reuven Kapuscinski.

JNS.orgIsraeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon apologized for remarks published by Yedioth Ahronoth that called U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s approach to Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations “obsessive” and “messianic.”

“The defense minister had no intention to cause any offense to the secretary, and he apologizes if the secretary was offended by words attributed to the minister,” Ya’alon’s office said in a statement.

Ya’alon reportedly said, “Secretary of State John Kerry—who came here very determined, and operates based upon an unfathomable obsession and a messianic feeling—cannot teach me anything about the Palestinians.” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki had called Ya’alon’s remarks “offensive and inappropriate, especially given all that the United States is doing to support Israel’s security needs.”

“To question Secretary Kerry’s motives and distort his proposals is not something we would expect from the defense minister of a close ally,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.

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Lt. Col. Jonathan Dohaoh-Halevy, a senior researcher at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, told that Ya’alon “is worried about Israeli withdrawal to lines where Israel will be in a difficult strategic and military position to defend itself against future attacks.”

“He believes Kerry does not understand the complicity of the conflict,” said Halevy.

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