Israeli defense minister apologizes to US for his remarks
JERUSALEM - The Associated Press
Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon gives a press conference at the Defence Ministery in Tel Aviv, on March 5. AFP photoIsrael's defense minister has apologized to his U.S. counterpart for criticizing Washington and for calling it "weak" when it comes to its stance on Iran's nuclear program.
A statement from Moshe Yaalon's office late March 19 says he phoned U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and told him he hadn't intended to harm relations between the two close allies.
This week, Yaalon questioned Washington's commitment to Israel's security, saying Israel cannot depend on the United States to lead any action against Iran's nuclear program and can only rely on itself.
Earlier, Yaalon also criticized U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, saying the top American diplomat was unrealistic and naive in trying to forge an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.
Kerry on March 19 called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to protest Yaalon's remarks.
"Clearly his comments were not constructive," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.
"It is certainly confusing to us why Defense Minister Yaalon 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."
But Kerry has a "thick skin" and "we're ready to move forward and keep talking about the peace process," Psaki added.