Kerry angered by Israeli criticism
March 20, 2014 - 4:36:22 am
WASHINGTON: In a rare move, Secretary of State John Kerry protested yesterday to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about strong criticism of US foreign policy by his outspoken defence minister.
In a telephone call, Kerry told Netanyahu the comments made by Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon are 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 slammed the US administration for 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 Defence 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.
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 defense 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.