(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
WASHINGTON - Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon was categorically snubbed by the Obama administration during his visit to Washington this week, denied meetings at the State Department and the White House after calling the US-led peace push this year "messianic."
"We were shocked by some of the comments that he has made in the past, so it should come as no surprise that he wasn't able to get some of the meetings he requested," a US official told The Jerusalem Post on Friday.
During his visit to Washington, Ya'alon sought meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, US Secretary of State John Kerry and national security advisor Susan Rice.
While none of the meetings were granted, Ya'alon was received by Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon with a small honor guard.
He also met with US ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power in New York.
Earlier this year, Ya'alon acknowledged a report in Yedioth Ahronoth
which quoted him as telling associates in private conversations that Kerry “should take his Nobel Prize and leave us alone.”
“Abu Mazen lives and dies by our sword,” Ya’alon was quoted as saying by Yedioth. “Once we leave Judea and Samaria, he is finished. In effect, during these past months, there haven’t been negotiations with the Palestinians, but with the Americans.”
“The only thing that can ‘save’ us is for John Kerry to win his Nobel Prize and leave us alone,” the defense minister reportedly said.
Ya'alon apologized for the disparaging comments that he made about Kerry and his diplomatic efforts.
"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," the Defense Ministry statement read.
"Israel and the United States share a common goal to advance the peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians led by Secretary Kerry. We appreciate Secretary Kerry's many efforts towards that's end," the ministry added.
Washington reacted angrily, saying the US expects more from “a close ally.”
Prior to his departure to Washington, Ya'alon struck a conciliatory tone toward Kerry and the Obama administration, particularly after Economy Minister Naftali Bennett hammered the secretary of state for remarks which he perceived to be linking the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and the rise of Islamic State.
"The relationship between the United States and Israel are based on shared interests and values," the defense minister said in a press release. "We mustn't allow any disagreements to cast a pall over those interests and values."
"The US assists Israel in a variety of areas, most prominently of course in the field of security, and we must remember that and acknowledge its leaders and thank them for this," the statement read. "The respective defense establishments in both countries have a relationship whose intimacy is unprecedented in scope and importance for Israel's security."
"There is also a close, tight relationship with my friend, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel," Ya'alon said.