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Bibi’s bulldog blusters on

Defence minister Moshe Ya’alon at his press conference last January where he apologised for insults to the US. After again attacking the ‘weakness’ of the US Administration, the “United States is using unprecedented language to condemn Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon after he continued weeks of criticism of US President Barack Obama, and members of his foreign policy team, on Tuesday”: JPost, March 19th. Photo Flash90.

The defense minister’s dangerous delusion

In addition to being scornful of Washington, Moshe Ya’alon is also dead wrong about his assessment of U.S. power and reliability.

Haaretz Editorial
March 21, 2014

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has done it again. After making scornful remarks about the United States, its international standing and its support for Israel, he was instructed to apologize. In what has become routine procedure he called his American counterpart, Chuck Hagel, and told him that he “had no intention of offending” America and that he “has very deep admiration for the relations between the countries and for Hagel on a personal level.”

Only two months ago Ya’alon had to make a similar clarification, after calling American Secretary of State John Kerry “obsessive and messianic” due to the latter’s efforts to make peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Ya’alon’s apologies are hollow. They focus on manners and etiquette rather than on the essence. The defense minister doesn’t trust the United States and has no respect for the American administration. He thinks the super power is afraid of confrontations and radiates weakness in the way it handles international affairs.

As Barak Ravid reported (Haaretz, March 18), Ya’alon had expected the United States to “lead the campaign against Iran,” and was disappointed. His disappointment led him to conclude that Israel should conduct itself, as far as Iran is concerned, as though it had no allies. This is similar to the position held by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who sees the nuclear agreement between the powers and Iran as a “historic mistake.”

Netanyahu has not renounced Ya’alon’s statements and the two share the same negative view of the United States’ power and reliability. The two also object to an Israeli-Palestinian agreement hinging on a withdrawal from the West Bank. Presumably, the American Secretary of Defense’s mild response only served to further deepen Jerusalem’s scorn toward Obama’s administration.

The prime minister and defense minister are wrong. Israel has no ally beside the United States to defend it in the international arena, provide the IDF with aid and weapons and strive for a regional power balance that takes Israel’s interests into consideration.

There is great danger in the combination of the Israeli dread that “the West has abandoned us for Iranian lies” and the feeling that Israel is strong and can dictate its will to other powers in the region. In the past Israel has gone to war in similar situations. It must not slide once more into a crisis, because of its leadership’s distorted evaluation of the situation.

US will not forget Ya’alon’s insult

Alon Pinkas, Ynet Op-ed: Defense Minister’s comments will greatly influence American willingness to listen to Israel on crucial issues like Iran.

March 23, 2014

The bottom line is that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must fire Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon for the blatant, defiant, unbearable ingratitude he has shown the United States. At the very least, the prime minister should condemn the comments and put Ya’alon in his place.

Netanyahu will not take the first route for political reasons, and because in Israel’s political culture, responsibility, discipline and common sense have been replaced with irresponsibility, chatter and arrogance. Netanyahu will not take the second option because he believes the same, and he himself unleashed the irresponsible tongue-lashings of the US in a series of unnecessary rows with President Barack Obama starting in 2009.

Ya’alon is an honest man, a brave soldier, a perfect Israeli patriot. His dismissal is justified by the flawed judgment he has shown, and by his fundamental lack of understanding of the depth and significance of Israel’s relations with the US, and its irreplaceable centrality to Israel’s national security.

There is no doubt that Ya’alon knows how to recite the clichés about our “special relationship,” but he doesn’t really understand it. Otherwise he wouldn’t have expressed himself the way that he did, certainly not at a time when the US is reexamining its foreign relationships, and Israel has a clear interest in a strong and engaged America, not an America that has cut itself off from the Middle East.

State department spokesperson Jen Psaki: US ‘disappointed’ with Ya’alon’s lack of apology

There have always been disagreements with the US, but an Israeli defense minister has never dared to personally insult an American secretary of state before. And then, several weeks later, to criticize the overall foreign policy of the US, to determine that the US is showing weakness and weakening its allies.

Israel’s defense minister not only benefits from $3 billion a year, American vetoes at the Security Council, the Iron Dome system, access to the most advance technologies and intelligence cooperation, he is, it turns out, also the American administration’s internal auditor on foreign policy.

This time, Ya’alon did not just offend the secretary of state. He inflicted direct damage on the US, on its ability to show strength in the midst of the crisis in Ukraine. Ya’alon is creating an image of an America that has no influence over its allies. And this is something the US will not take lying down.

The aid won’t be cancelled, the pilots will continue training, intelligence information will continue to be passed on. But Israel’s defense minister will be perceived as a person who cannot be trusted. That has a real effect on the American willingness to listen seriously to Israel and its defense minister on crucial issues like Iran or the Palestinians.

Alon Pinkas served as Israel’s consul general in New York

US ‘disappointed’ at lack of apology from Ya’alon

Despite defense minister’s penitent call to Chuck Hagel, State Dept. still has concerns over Ya’alon’s ‘pattern of behavior’

By Times of Israel staff
March 21, 2014

The US is still waiting for a formal apology from Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon for disparaging comments he made on Monday, in which he accused the Obama administration of being weak on Iran.

State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki told reporters on Friday that the US was “disappointed with the lack of apology” from Ya’alon, despite the fact that he spoke with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on Wednesday, and issued a statement indicating regret over his statements then.

“We still have remaining concerns about Ya’alon’s pattern of behavior,” she said. “I think we clearly expressed our displeasure by his offensive comments and an apology would be a natural next step.”

Israel’s Channel 2 quoted a senior, unnamed American source complaining about Ya’alon’s “insulting and disappointing” comments about figures in the administration.

The same report suggested that the Obama administration, in keeping the dispute alive, was trying to “delegitimize” Ya’alon, who holds hawkish positions on dealing with the Palestinians. The defense minister said in a TV interview last weekend that Mahmoud Abbas was “not a partner” for a viable permanent accord and that he did not expect to see peace in his lifetime.

According to a statement issued by Ya’alon’s office, he told Hagel on Wednesday that he had no intention of harming the US or ties with it. The ostensible apology was Ya’alon’s second in two months for remarks knocking the Obama administration.

“In my statements, there was no antagonism or criticism or intent to harm the United States or [Israel’s] relations with it,” he said. “The strategic relationship between the two countries as well as the personal relationship and mutual interests are of utmost importance. I value the relationship at all levels, between Israel and the United States in general and the security establishment in particular.”

Ya’alon on Monday had questioned the US administration’s commitment to Israel’s security, saying Israel would have to act alone to thwart Tehran’s nuclear drive.

The statements, delivered in a closed event at a university but promptly leaked, provoked a harsh response from the US, with Secretary of State John Kerry calling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in protest.

“It is certainly confusing to us why Defense Minister Ya’alon would continue his pattern of making comments that don’t accurately represent the scope of our close partnership on a range of security issues and on the enduring partnership between the United States and Israel,” Psaki had told reporters on Wednesday.

According to the defense minister’s statement, Ya’alon told Hagel, “I have a very deep appreciation for the relationship between [Israel and the US] and for you personally. I greatly admired these relations even as Chief of Staff and I appreciate them to this day as defense minister, and I am aware of their full depth and significance. I have a total commitment to these relations and to [advancing] the cooperation between Israel and the United States in every way.”

Hagel was said to have been empathetic in talking to Ya’alon, and suggested that some of his remarks might have been taken out of context, Israel’s Channel 2 news reported late Wednesday. However, a statement issued by the US Defense Department stopped short of referring to Ya’alon’s call as an apology, instead saying that Hagel thanked the defense minister for his clarification.

Two months ago, Ya’alon was also forced to issue an apology to Kerry over private comments in which the minister blasted the top American diplomat, among other critiques, for his “inexplicably obsessive” and “messianic” efforts to produce an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

A danger named Ya’alon
: In continuing his unbridled attacks on the United States, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is endangering Israel’s security. Haaretz Editorial, March 19, 2014

Defense minister leans toward Israeli operation in Iran, as Obama portrays ‘weakness’, Barak Ravid, March 18th, 2014

US still waiting for apology from Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon for Obama remarks, JPost, March 21st, 2014

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