'Mystified' US slams Israeli defense minister Ya'alon's criticism of Obama

Senior US administration official tells 'Post' that White House is shocked by comments minister made Tuesday.

By
March 19, 2014 03:03
1 minute read.
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon (R) looks into Syria on tour of Golan Heights

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon 370. (photo credit: Ariel Hermoni, Defense Ministry spokesman)

 
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WASHINGTON -- The United States is using unprecedented language to condemn Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon after he continued weeks of criticism of US President Barack Obama, and members of his foreign policy team, on Tuesday.

“We were shocked by Moshe Ya’alon’s comments, which seriously call into question his commitment to Israel’s relationship with the United States," a senior administration official told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday night. "Moreover, this is part of a disturbing pattern in which the Defense Minister disparages the US Administration, and insults its most senior officials."

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Ya'alon said on Tuesday that, in light of developments on crises in the Middle East, relations with China and with Russia over the annexation of Crimea, Obama's "image in the world is feebleness."

Ya'alon sensed "disappointment" in the world community, he said at Tel Aviv University.

"Given the unprecedented commitment that this administration has made to Israel’s security, we are mystified why the Defense Minister seems intent on undermining the relationship," the official continued.

The defense minister also implied that US policy on Iran was pushing Israel to plan for war, should talks over its nuclear program fail in Vienna.

"At some stage the United States entered into negotiations with [the Iranians], and unhappily, when it comes to negotiating at a Persian bazaar, the Iranians were better," Ya'alon said.

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Ya'alon's criticism of the US administration was extensive: he suggested the White House "come to its senses," or else risk new terrorist threats from around the world.

"Look what's happening in Ukraine, where the United States is demonstrating weakness, unfortunately," he continued.

The comments come just weeks after Ya'alon was criticized for calling US Secretary of State John Kerry "messianic" for his fervent pursuit of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The State Department demanded an apology for those comments, which he delivered at the time at the insistence of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.

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