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Kerry 'Protests' to Prime Minister Over Criticism from Ya'alon

In rare move, State Department issues strong complaint after Defense Minister slams US policy on Iran.
By AFP and Arutz Sheva Staff
First Publish: 3/19/2014, 8:47 PM

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon
Flash90

In a rare move, Secretary of State John Kerry protested to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Wednesday over Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon's strong criticism of US foreign policy, according to AFP. 

Ya'alon slammed the US and the West on Tuesday for its "soft" approach toward the possibility of a nuclear Iran. 

"Everyone knows Iran is lying," Ya'alon stated. "But the pampered West is satisfied with postponing conflict [with Iran over the nuclear program]." 

Ya'alon's comments made headlines in Israeli media Tuesday evening over his perceived change of heart regarding the Iran issue - and apparently have also drawn the ire of US officials. 

In a telephone call, Kerry told Netanyahu Wednesday that the comments made by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon are inconsistent with reality, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said. 

"Clearly his comments were not constructive," Psaki told reporters. 

"Secretary Kerry spoke with Prime Minister Netanyahu this morning and protested to him his concerns about these comments," she said, adding that the US has an "unshakeable commitment" to Israel's security.

"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 added.

It is not Ya'alon's first diatribe against the administration of President Barack Obama and Kerry himself.

In January, the State Department denounced as "offensive" comments made by the defense minister accusing Kerry of being "obsessive" and "messianic" with his push for Middle East peace.

Ya'alon was later forced to apologize to the top US diplomat, who has been trying to hammer out a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Psaki refused to divulge what Netanyahu's response was, nor whether Kerry had asked the Israeli prime minister to fire Ya'alon.