Israeli Defense Minister to Kerry: 'Leave Us in Peace'
JERUSALEM, Israel -- While U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presses ahead with trying to create a Palestinian state by this spring, a senior Israeli government minister says Kerry doesn't know what he's talking about.
"The only thing that can 'save us' is for John Kerry to win a Nobel [Peace] Prize and leave us in peace," Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said.
Ya'alon made headlines Tuesday over remarks he reportedly made in private conversations both abroad and at home, according to the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot.
"Secretary of State John Kerry, who came here very determined and operates based on an unfathomable obsession and messianic feeling, cannot teach me anything about the Palestinians I live and breathe the conflict with the Palestinians. I know what they think, what they want, and what they really mean," said Ya'alon, himself a former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff.
In private conversations, Ya'alon reportedly called the security plan presented by U.S. Gen. (Ret.) John Allen untenable for the Jewish state.
"The American security plan presented to us is not worth the paper it's written on," he said. "It contains no peace and no security. Only our continued presence in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] and the Jordan River will guarantee that Ben Gurion Airport [Israel's main international airport] and [the northern coastal city] Netanya do not become targets for missiles from every direction."
Ya'alon criticized the notion that technology could replace soldiers in the field.
"You presented us with a plan based on smart technologies, satellites, sensors, war rooms with television screens, without our forces being present on the ground," Ya'alon continued.
"And I ask you, 'How will your technology help us when a Salafist terror cell or one from Islamic Jihad tries to carry out a terror attack against Israeli targets? Who will take care of them? What satellites will take care of the rocket industry developing in Shechem [Nablus], and the rockets that will be launched at Tel Aviv and the central region?'"
Ya'alon called negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority illusory.
"There are no negotiations with the Palestinians. The Americans are holding negotiations with us and in parallel with the Palestinians," he explained. "So far, we are the only side to have given anything -- the release of murderers -- and the Palestinians have given nothing."
On releasing more convicted terrorists, Ya'alon said "enough is enough."
"We have given enough and received nothing," he said. "Let us say to our American friends, 'Enough is enough.'"