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Israeli defense minister to John Kerry: ‘Leave us alone’

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Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon had harsh words for John Kerry, just days before the secretary of state is due to sweep into the country for more talks on Palestinian peace: Your "messianic" visions aren't helping.

In fact, Mr. Yaalon said, in a local newspaper story published on Tuesday, the best course of action would be for Mr. Kerry to "leave us alone," take a Nobel Peace Prize and go home.

NBC News reported his statements in the Yediot Aharonot newspaper: "Secretary of State John Kerry came here very determined and operates based upon an unfathomable obsession and a messianic feeling. Throughout the recent months, there is no negotiation between us and the Palestinians, but rather, between us and the Americans. The only thing that can 'save' us is that John Kerry will get a Nobel Peace Prize and leave us alone."

The United States has been pushing hard for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. Mr. Kerry would like to reach an agreement by April that sets out the framework for a pact that guarantees both sides' security and that provides for Palestinian refugees, NBC reported.

Part of that deal would mean Israel would have to stop building on contested lands in East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip — a notion that angers many Israelis who say they captured those territories fair and square during the 1967 Middle East conflict. Mr. Yaalon is one who says Israel should not have to stop settlement builds as a condition of forging a peace deal with the Palestinians.

"I live and breathe the conflict with the Palestinians," Mr. Yaalon said the local paper, NBC reported. "I know what they think, what they want and what they really mean."

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