U.S.-Israel Ties In Crisis: Minister Refused Meetings

The U.S. and Israel are in the midst of a diplomatic crisis as an Israeli minister’s request for meetings is refused.

Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid told a town hall meeting in Tel Aviv on Saturday that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was categorically snubbed by the Obama Administration during his current visit to the United States.

Lapid said, “There is a crisis with the Americans, and it needs to be addressed as a crisis.”

His comments came a day after U.S. officials said that the Obama administration refused Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s requests to meet several top national security aides. The White House and State Department rejected Israeli proposals for meetings with Vice President Joe Biden, National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and Secretary of State John Kerry on Ya’alon’s five-day trip.

The Blaze reports that some are saying that the Obama administration’s behavior is an attempt to humiliate and ostracize Ya’alon. Some are calling it an act of hazing. This comes on the heels of reports saying that the Obama administration is still angered by negative comments Ya’alon made about Kerry’s peace efforts in the Middle East and nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Ya’alon said Kerry came to the Israeli officials “determined,” and that he “acts out of incomprehensible obsession and a messianic sense.” He added that Kerry “cannot teach me a thing about the conflict with the Palestinians.”

Ya’alon expressed deep skepticism about Kerry’s proposed security plan to U.S. officials, and said, “It is not worth the paper it was printed on. It has no security, and it has no peace.”

YnetNews reports him as saying, “The only thing that could save us Kerry winning a Nobel Peace Prize and leaving us alone.”

Relations between Washington and Jerusalem, which considers the U.S. as its most important ally, have been rocky, especially during Obama’s presidency. Recently, there were reports of the White House lashing out against proposed plans for Israel to build in the Jewish state’s capital of Jerusalem. The Inquisitr reported on Obama adviser Robert Gibbs’s statement on behalf of the Obama Administration, expressing their disappointment with the expansion.

Lapid urged officials, saying, “We need to act with more respect. We must remember that U.S. funds and technology helped Gaza operation.”

He went on to say, “Our relations with the U.S. are vital and important for the State of Israel, which is why it should do everything in its power to extricate itself from this crisis and restore good ties.”

Ya’alon held a meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Chuck Hagel, indicating that the reason for the cold shoulder was more a testament to personal tensions between Ya’alon and the White House than an attempt to sabotage Israel’s relations with the United States.

According to The Times of Israel, Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel and Middle East expert Daniel Kurtzer worries that the dismal personal ties between President Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are so poor that it could “seriously hurt otherwise strong bilateral ties,” and therefore, “affect the entire alliance, which could run into serious problems if Israel gets too close to China.” He goes on to say that the relationship between the two leaders is the worst he’s ever seen between a president and prime minister.

On Saturday, Lapid urged Netanyahu to repair the country’s relations with its closest ally. He is quoted in The Jerusalem Post as saying, “Israel must do everything… to get out of this crisis and return to good relations.”

MK Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) said that the U.S.-Israel crisis is “unprecedentedly bad,” and is concerned about the relationship between the two countries and the potential to harm Israeli interests.

[Image: Jpost.com]