Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
FRIDAY, 25 APR 2014
04:56 AM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
22 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Israel's Yaalon risks isolation after Kerry slur: press
Agence France Presse
File - In this July 9, 2013 file photo, an Israeli soldier holds up a Skylark I (Rochev Shamayim) unmanned drone as part of a demonstration for Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, center, in an urban warfare army training facility, near Zeelim, southern Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)
File - In this July 9, 2013 file photo, an Israeli soldier holds up a Skylark I (Rochev Shamayim) unmanned drone as part of a demonstration for Israel's Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, center, in an urban warfare army training facility, near Zeelim, southern Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File)
A+ A-

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israel's defense minister may have apologized for his offensive comments about U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry but his outburst could see him marginalized by Washington, commentators warned on Wednesday.

A furious diplomatic row erupted between Israel and its closest ally on Tuesday when Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon was quoted as saying Kerry had an "obsession" about the peace process and was working out of a "sense of messianism."

Washington immediately lashed out at the "offensive" remarks, demanding an apology, which was eventually published by Yaalon's office late on Tuesday, although it stopped short of denying the comments.

"The defence minister had no intention to cause any offence to the secretary, and he apologises if the secretary was offended by words attributed to the minister," it said, expressing appreciation for Kerry's efforts to advance the ongoing peace talks.

His remarks also sparked a welter of criticism inside Israel, with several cabinet ministers and the opposition saying many officials saying his personal attack on Kerry was inappropriate.

Although the statement appeared to head off the crisis, commentators said Yaalon's dismissive comments could cost him dearly.

"The Americans have long marked Yaalon as a possible obstacle to reaching a peace agreement," wrote Nadav Eyal in Maariv newspaper.

"The problem isn't what Yaalon said about the peace talks. The problem is Yaalon's personal attack" on Kerry, he wrote, saying the minister had made a "beginner's error" which could cost him a seat at the table with the Americans.

"His opposition to the negotiations -- whether in principle or tactical -- may position him politically, but could also, if mishandled, make him irrelevant," Eyal concluded.

The left-leaning Haaretz newspaper took a similar line.

"It is still difficult to assess the damage caused by Defence Minister Yaalon's disgraceful, mocking and arrogant comments," diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid wrote.

Yaalon, he said, appeared to have abandoned his role as a "responsible adult" in the previous government for one formerly played by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman: "that of the volatile minister who is boycotted in Washington."

Lieberman, a normally outspoken hardliner who has taken a more moderate stance since returning to office in November after being acquitted of corruption allegations, on Tuesday issued a rebuke directed at Yaalon, saying there was "no place for lashing out personally."

"Lieberman has learned his lesson. He understood that his crude style toward the Americans hurt him... so he made an effort to build good relations with Kerry despite their disagreements," Ravid wrote.

"Even after his apology, Yaalon still has to find a way to rehabilitate his relations with Washington. Otherwise he will see the inside of the White House and Pentagon only in photographs."

Since being appointed secretary of state in February 2013, Kerry has visited the region 10 times in a bid to push forward the peace process, recently outlining a detailed plan for security in a final deal - which was utterly dismissed by Yaalon.

But a senior official in the ruling rightwing Likud said the defence minister had merely vocalised what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was thinking.

"Boogie said out loud what Netanyahu would like to say," he told Yediot, using the defence minister's nickname.

"You hear his aides in the bureau and you understand the spirit of things. Kerry is a burden."

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog said the incident showed Netanyahu's ruling party had no interest in pursuing peace.

"The defence minister's insulting and offensive lashing out at Secretary of State Kerry exposes Likud's true face," he said late on Tuesday, accusing the government of having "no vision for peace."

But Shimon Shiffer, the Yediot correspondent who first reported Yaalon's remarks, said the problem lay predominantly in the way the US-led negotiations were being conducted, which had forced Israel into an impossible corner.

"The negotiations ... are being pursued at present with an insulting lack of transparency," he wrote.

"The parameters of the agreement that they are proposing could end in a security catastrophe for Israel, but if we insist on our vital security interests they will lay responsibility for the failure of the talks on us.

"And if that is the situation, it is no wonder that the defence minister is furious," he wrote, saying Yaalon's remarks were aimed at his own government.

"Essentially, Yaalon was urging Netanyahu and (chief negotiator Tzipi) Livni to stop being so terrified, to stop playing make-believe and to start sharing with the Israeli public the things that are happening behind the scenes in the negotiations," he said.

 
Home Middle East
 
     
 
Israel / United States of America
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Story Summary
A furious diplomatic row erupted between Israel and its closest ally on Tuesday when Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon was quoted as saying Kerry had an "obsession" about the peace process and was working out of a "sense of messianism".

Washington immediately lashed out at the "offensive" remarks, demanding an apology, which was eventually published by Yaalon's office late on Tuesday, although it stopped short of denying the comments.

"The defence minister had no intention to cause any offence to the secretary, and he apologises if the secretary was offended by words attributed to the minister," it said, expressing appreciation for Kerry's efforts to advance the ongoing peace talks.

His remarks also sparked a welter of criticism inside Israel, with several cabinet ministers and the opposition saying many officials saying his personal attack on Kerry was inappropriate.

Although the statement appeared to head off the crisis, commentators said Yaalon's dismissive comments could cost him dearly.

Since being appointed secretary of state in February 2013, Kerry has visited the region 10 times in a bid to push forward the peace process, recently outlining a detailed plan for security in a final deal -- which was utterly dismissed by Yaalon.
Related Articles
 
 
Kerry says too early to draw conclusions about Israel-Palestinian talks
 
 
Arabs urge U.S. to keep up Mideast peace push
 
 
Kerry cancels U.S. return en route from Mideast
 
 
Kerry: Peace talks scuppered by settlements
 
 
Kerry: Israeli, Palestinian leaders must 'lead'
Show More
Entities
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Thursday April 24, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Israel shows Zionism’s true colors
Michael Young
Michael Young
For Christians, blessed are the dividers
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
An Iran deal is close, but we’re not there yet
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS