U.S. says disappointed at no apology from Israeli defense chief

WASHINGTON Fri Mar 21, 2014 8:29pm EDT

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon sit in front of a display of M302 rockets, found aboard the Klos C ship, at a navy base in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat March 10, 2014. REUTERS/Amir Cohen

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon sit in front of a display of M302 rockets, found aboard the Klos C ship, at a navy base in the Red Sea resort city of Eilat March 10, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Amir Cohen

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Friday said it was disappointed at the lack of an apology from Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon for his criticism of U.S. policies in a speech on Monday.

"We are disappointed with the lack of an apology from Defense Minister Yaalon's comments," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told a daily briefing. "His comments don't reflect the true nature of our relationship with Israel," she added.

In a lecture at Tel Aviv University, Yaalon said Israel could not rely on its main ally to take the lead in confronting Iran over its nuclear program. He also pointed at the Ukraine crisis as an example of Washington "showing weakness.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry later called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest Yaalon's comments, which come at a time that the United States is trying to broker a peace agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.

While Yaalon has issued a statement voicing regret at any offence he may have caused, he has not apologized nor retracted his accusations.

It is the second time that Yaalon's comments have irked Washington. In January he described Kerry's quest for Middle East peace as messianic and obsessive.

Asked whether the United States had sought an apology from Yaalon, Psaki said both Kerry and U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had "clearly expressed their displeasure with the comments and an apology would be a natural next step in response to that."

She said there were concerns with the "pattern" of publicly criticizing U.S. policies. Still, Psaki said the spat would not undermine efforts to forge a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

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Comments (31)
unionwv wrote:
Childishness

Mar 21, 2014 9:39pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
ready2013 wrote:
Bakhtin
not like the US isn’t giving unappreciated aid to others…right? why you picking on Israel?…jewphobia?

Mar 21, 2014 10:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Bakhtin wrote:
ready2013

Why do you not understand that ‘Israel’ and ‘Judaism’ are two entirely different things?

Jewish is a religion, most of whom live outside Israel. Israel is a country. I know they try for the sympathy angle by pretending that Israel represents the whole of Judaism but that is nonsense. It makes no more sense than pretending that criticising Berlusconi is an attack on Catholics.

As for ‘picking’ on Israel:
1) They are not a poor country – why do they need any aid at all? Aiding poor countries is one thing, aiding Israel is another.

2) Israel gives nothing back in return, and even whines about the USA. Have you ever seen the IDF turn up to help the USA? Even Pakistan give material assistance to the USA in return for (much les) aid.

3) Israel uses US weapons to kill civilians. This is morally repulsive – America shouldn’t be helping Israel do that – and legally dubious.

Mar 21, 2014 10:38pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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