Observers are saying that Israel is “insincere” in their efforts towards peace negotiations following a statement from Israel’s Defense Minister mocking Secretary of State John Kerry’s peace plan ambitions.
Reports that U.S. Secretary of Defense John Kerry has been belittled by Israeli’s Defense Minister after he called Kerry’s intentions “inexplicably obsessive” and “messianic,” have grabbed headlines all across Israel and the U.S. To make matters worse, Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said that the only way to get Kerry off of their case is if he “wins the Nobel Prize,” underscoring the Israeli Defense Minister’s contempt for Kerry’s work in the region.
Observers say the statement showcases the sincerity of Israeli officials to actually broker a peace agreement with Palestine, and that they are more concerned with getting international pressure off of them to halt Israeli encroachmen on Palestinian territory.
White House press secretary Jay Carney launched back at Israel’s Defense Minister, saying that the comments “if accurate, are offensive and inappropriate.”
Carney went on to say that the comments suggest Israel is distorting Secretary Kerry’s proposals, and that this “is not something we would expect from the defense minister of a close ally.”
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, known for his hawkish stance in the conflict between Israel and Palestine apologized Tuesday in Yedioth Ahronoth, an Israeli newspaper, drawing further condemnation from critics. Yaalon did not deny that he had made those remarks, but went on to say that he had an “appreciation” for the U.S. effort to bring peace to the region.
The growing tension comes as Israel has fought off the U.S. and the international community’s ongoing efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear program, a deal which Israel has prophesied would fail from the start.
Observers are saying Israel’s intention is not to broker peace, but rather to solidify their power in the region and protect their own interests at the expense of international peace.
Despite the harsh words, some in the U.S. government have brushed off such comments, saying that Yaalon is a known wildcard.
“Yaalon is a special case,” said Aaron David Miller, a former U.S. peace negotiator. “He’s always been a maverick.”
Despite all other measures that say Kerry’s efforts to bridge the two nations is a long shot, observers have noted that Israel’s frustration with Kerry’s peace process is actually a sign that things are working. The pressure felt by Israeli conservatives who seek little reconciliation with Palestine was transmitted through Yaalon’s impulsive statement, say analysts.
Yaalon went on to say that he did not “intend to offend the secretary of state,” and that he hopes Kerry can accept his apology and continue working towards negotiations between Israel and Palestine.
Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu subliminally rebuked the Defense Minister’s statement in a press conference on Tuesday.
President Netanyahu went on to say that the U.S. is “our greatest ally” and stressed the importance of cooperatin between the two states if they are to go forward.
Still, ongoing international conversations on Iran and Syria continue to overshadow U.S. cooperation with Israel.
Secretary Kerry’s latest peace plans involve the halting of Israeli settlement construction, a sticking point in talks moving ahead. Palestine has also objected to recognizing Israel as an official state as outlined in the tentative peace plan.
by John Amaruso