U.S. State Department: Israeli defense minister's comments "offensive"
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 - 01:33
Jan. 14 - The Israeli defense minister reportedly denounced U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's quest for mideast peace as ''messianic'' and ''an obsession.'' Nathan Frandino reports.
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After months of peace talks between Israel and Palestine -- led by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry -- Israel's defense minister has reportedly dismissed Kerry's efforts.
Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon was quoted by a popular Israeli newspaper as saying Kerry is quote "acting out of an incomprehensible obsession and a messianic feeling."
He also reportedly said the secretary quote "cannot teach me a single thing about the conflict with the Palestinians."
U.S. State Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki reacted firmly, calling Yaalon's comments, if accurate, offensive and inappropriate.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESWOMAN, JEN PSAKI, SAYING:
"Secretary Kerry and his team, including General (John) Allen, have been working day and night to try to promote a secure peace for Israel because of the Secretary's deep concern for Israel's future. That is precisely why the Secretary and his team have been working so hard here. To question his motives, to distort his proposals is not something we would expect from the Defense Minister of a close ally."
Now Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on damage control.
Addressing the Israeli parliament, Netanyahu said Israel and the United States were working together to promote peace in the region.
(SOUNDBITE) ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU SAYING:
"Even when we have disagreements with the United States, they always pertain to the matter at hand, and are not personal."
In recent weeks, Kerry has been on a diplomatic blitz to persuade Israel and the Palestinians - who resumed talks in July after a three-year deadlock - to agree on an outline proposal.
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