- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2014

Four days after Israel’s defense minister publicly accused the U.S. of showing weakness around the world, the Obama administration is still waiting for an apology.

On Friday, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the Obama administration is “disappointed with the lack of apology” from Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon.

Mr. Yaalon said in a speech at Tel Aviv University on Monday that the U.S. is “demonstrating weakness” around the world and warned “if you sit and wait at home, the terrorism will come again.”

The comments prompted Secretary of State John F. Kerry to take the unusual step of calling Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lodge a complaint on Wednesday.

Mr. Yaalon called Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel this week to clarify his remarks, but he did not offer an apology.

Mr. Kerry and Mr. Hagel had “very clearly expressed their displeasure with the comments, and an apology would be a natural next step in response to that,” said Ms. Psaki.

This is not the first time that Mr. Yaalon has publicly criticized U.S. foreign policy and officials.

In January, the Israeli defense minister, a former armed forces chief and a hawkish member of Mr. Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, accused Mr. Kerry of having a “messianic obsession” with the Middle East peace process.

Ms. Psaki said on Friday that Mr. Kerry “still has concerns about the pattern” of behavior displayed by Mr. Yaalon.

In his speech at Tel Aviv University, Mr. Yaalon said the U.S. had been outmaneuvered by the Iranians in negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program.

“We had thought the ones who should lead the campaign against Iran is the United States,” said Mr. Yaalon. “But at some stage the United States entered into negotiations with them, and unhappily, when it comes to negotiating at a Persian bazaar, the Iranians were better.”

He also cited developments in Ukraine, where Russia has annexed the Crimean Peninsula despite Western warnings, and said the U.S. “is demonstrating weakness.”

• Ashish Kumar Sen can be reached at asen@washingtontimes.com.

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