Ya’alon: They may not meet the deadline but there will be an Iran nuke deal

Moshe Ya'alon

The world powers and Iran are headed to a nuclear agreement, even if Tuesday’s deadline is not met, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Monday. Ya’alon, at a briefing in his Tel Aviv office with diplomatic reporters, said that despite some last minute delays, the negotiations were not on the verge of collapse. “What is clear is that this is a bad agreement,” he said. “After it is signed we will have a nuclear threshold Iran.” Click here to read the story.

Photo by Shurat HaDin – Israel Law Center

YA’ALON SPOKE THE TRUTH

By GONAN GINAT
Israel Hayom

Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon apologized. He had to. Regular Israelis, however, are exempt from such diplomatic etiquette, free to clarify to the Americans what they know anyway, as anybody who regularly deals with Israeli popular opinion polls knows: namely, that the vast majority of Israelis believe that Ya’alon, before the apology, spoke the truth. They believe he was right.

The Americans were furious. Self-appointed experts in etiquette and propriety set out to compete over rolling eyes and sanctimonious pronouncements (making sure to be widely quoted).

But, as the dust settles, the Americans deserve to know: The majority of us are with Ya’alon, the man who spoke not only what he believes, but what most of us believe too.

Ya’alon was never great at civil talk or clean speech. He may even be a little naive. Actually, he may be very naive. Ya’alon actually believed in the upstanding quality of the people at Yedioth Ahronoth, that he could speak openly without having to fear that his comments would be leaked. They promised him that. But who believes a word Yedioth says anymore? Only a very naive person.

As a politician, Ya’alon differs from the norm, so much so that he has to strap on high boots to avoid the snakes. He said what was on his mind without sanctimony. He didn’t play around. We’re not used to people telling us the truth. We aren’t used to a politician who speaks the truth. Now that Ya’alon has spoken the truth, we have to ask: What if he was correct?

Indeed, most Israelis commonly agree that the Americans have a shoddy understanding of the Middle East, and that the current administration has done a great job utilizing the so-called Arab Spring to show that it has no clue what to do, whatsoever.

If we all agree that the prime minister cannot say in public what the majority of us are thinking about Kerry’s aloof endeavors, maybe it’s fitting that somebody else took it upon him or herself to explain to the Americans that their conduct is questionable.

In the last few days, the Palestinian Authority, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, have made a show of defiance, effectively flooring Kerry’s proposal, trampling on it and squashing it. Abbas let us all know he was unwilling to compromise on anything, especially the dream of snuffing out the Jewish state.

So, what’s so evil about Ya’alon laying these concerns out on the table?

Each and every recent poll has shown that the majority of Israelis have no faith in the peace negotiations. That’s our crowd wisdom. We have no faith in Abbas, and we don’t believe that peace is just around the corner.

YA’ALON APOLOGIZES

By ISRAEL HAYOM

The publication of Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s criticism of Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday in the Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper “violated all the journalistic rules of ethics, including the most basic rule of protecting a source and ensuring his anonymity,” a source close to Ya’alon said on Tuesday.

Yedioth Ahronoth quoted the defense minister as deriding Kerry’s Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts as naive and foolhardy, and calling Kerry “obsessive” and “messianic.” The comments triggered an angry response from the U.S. government.

Late Tuesday night, Ya’alon’s office issued a statement expressing appreciation for Kerry’s peace-seeking efforts.

“The defense minister had no intention to cause any offense to the secretary, and he apologizes if the secretary was offended by words attributed to the minister,” the statement read.

Earlier, Ya’alon said that Israel’s relations with the U.S. were “intimate and meaningful.”

“The United States is our greatest friend and our strongest ally, and when there are differences they are resolved behind closed doors, including with Secretary Kerry, with whom I have many conversations about the future of Israel,” Ya’alon said. “I will continue to determinedly, responsibly and thoughtfully protect the security of the people of Israel.”

However, speaking to students in Ofakim on Tuesday, Ya’alon said, “There are officials who think that it is possible to solve this conflict easily.”

Before Ya’alon’s late-night apology, the U.S. government responded to the criticism of Kerry with an uncharacteristically strong rebuke, with State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki saying that, if accurately reported, Ya’alon’s remarks were “offensive and inappropriate, especially given all that the United States is doing to support Israel’s security needs.”

“Secretary Kerry and his team … have been working day and night to try to promote a secure peace for Israel because of the secretary’s deep concern for Israel’s future,” Psaki said. “To question his motives and distort his proposals is not something we would expect from the defense minister of a close ally.”