Israeli DM Clarifies Critique of US Foreign Policy


JERUSALEM, Israel -- Two days after Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon said the U.S. administration couldn't be trusted to take the lead on Iran, he was forced to clarify his remarks after the State Department blasted him for his comments.

In an address at Tel Aviv University Tuesday, Ya'alon said, among other things, that Israel could not rely on the Obama administration to take the lead with the Iranian nuclear program.

He said the decision to enter negotiations with Iran would "blow up" in the end and Israel would "have to behave as though we have nobody to look out for us but ourselves."

Ya'alon also said the U.S. is projecting a weakened image worldwide, as seen in its dealings with Syria, China, Russia and the Ukraine.

State Department spokeswoman Jan Psaki called his remarks "unconstructive" and "confusing," saying they did not reflect the "scope of our close partnership on a range of security issues and on the enduring partnership between the United States and Israel" nor the Israeli government's "view."

Ya'alon told U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel by phone Wednesday evening he had no intention of harming the "strategic relationship between the two countries."

"I appreciated these relations as IDF chief of staff and I appreciate them today as defense minister," Ya'alon told his U.S. counterpart. "I recognize their depth and importance…I am fully obligated to these relations and to the cooperation between Israel and the U.S."

Israeli political analyst Dr. Aaron Lerner, director of IMRA (Independent Media Review and Analysis), told CBN News "everyone is playing their diplomatic roles."

"There are formulas for diplomatically acceptable ways to resolve conflicts," he said. "Ya'alon can say what he really thinks and then he can say, 'I'm sorry if you were insulted.'"

"Everything he said about the relationship between Israel and the United States is true," he continued. "And what he said [on Tuesday] is also true."

"The United States is an interesting position right now," he continued. "The true irony is that the rest of the world looks at how the U.S. treats an ally. It doesn't get points in the world for turning the screws on its allies."

Lerner said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is well aware of the complexity of the situation both with Iran and with the peace talks with the Palestinians, "but he has genuine red lines and he's not going to cross them." 

"If the relationship [between the U.S. and Israel] were of tertiary importance, people wouldn't be so concerned," he said. "Because it is a very important relationship, Israel's concerns are much more serious."

"The present [U.S.] administration has had a consistent policy of giving low priority to the needs of their allies. It's very disturbing. There are gross misinterpretations of reality on the part of the U.S. and it's really very scary," he said. "Forget allies. Let's talk honest broker."

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