The Israeli minister of defense on Tuesday blasted America's attempts to broker a peace deal between Israel and Palestine, saying Secretary of State John Kerry's recent highly publicized diplomatic efforts there were obsessive and "messianic."
Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper quoted Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, the former head of the Israel Defense Forces, criticizing the ongoing peace process and singling out Kerry as a weak link in the ongoing negotiations.
"The American security plan presented to us is not worth the paper it's written on," Ya'alon said, according to Yedioth Ahronoth. "American Secretary of State John Kerry, who turned up here determined and acting out of misplaced obsession and messianic fervor, cannot teach me anything about the conflict with the Palestinians."
Ya'alon claimed that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is only alive because of the Israeli government, and that he "is finished" if any Israeli settlements in the West Bank are withdrawn.
"In reality, there have been no negotiations between us and the Palestinians for all these months – but rather between us and the Americans," he said. "The only thing that can 'save us' is for John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace."
Kerry is traveling through Europe to meet with foreign delegates ahead of peace talks on Syria next week. He does not have specific plans to visit Israel following his early January visit, though his special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations is traveling with him. Kerry will meet with delegates from the Arab League's Arab Peace Initiative for continued meetings on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel spoke with Ya'alon by phone on Monday, offering his condolences for the recent death of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
A readout of their conversation says the two "reaffirmed the strength of the U.S-Israel defense relationship, and pledged to continue to work closely together on the shared challenges that the United States and Israel face."