The United States has lashed out at Israeli Minister of Military Affairs Moshe Ya’alon for making “offensive and inappropriate” comments about Secretary of State John Kerry.
Israeli media reported earlier that during a meeting behind closed doors Ya’alon called Kerry’s efforts for Israeli-Palestinian peace “messianic and obsessive.”
In a strong response on Wednesday, a US State Department spokeswoman said that the remarks are “offensive and inappropriate especially given all that the US is doing to support Israel’s security needs.”
“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,” she added.
“To question his motives and distort his proposals is not something we would expect from the Defense Minister of a close ally,” Psaki said.
According to Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, the Israeli minister said Kerry, “who has come to us determined and is acting out of an incomprehensible obsession and a messianic feeling, cannot teach me a single thing about the conflict with the Palestinians.”
“The only thing that can save us is if Kerry wins the Nobel Prize and leaves us alone,” Ya’alon was quoted as saying by the paper.
In recent weeks, the Obama administration has been trying to nudge Israelis and Palestinians towards a peace framework.
The latest US quest for a long-elusive “peace deal” between Israel and Palestine has shown little sign of progress since the top US diplomat revived direct talks in July 2013 after a three-year deadlock.
Earlier this month, Kerry arrived in Tel Aviv and immediately headed for al-Quds (Jerusalem) to broker negotiations aimed at creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accuses the Palestinian leaders of not being committed to negotiations.
However, Palestinian authorities say that Israel’s refusal to stop building settlements in the occupied territories is one of the stumbling blocks to the US-brokered direct talks.