Israel’s defense minister, Bogie Yaalon issued a fiery fusillade aimed at John Kerry and his intensive round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Yaalon declared that the secretary of state was animated by a “messianic obsession” for peace that not only wasn’t shared by Israelis, but shouldn’t be:
Abu Mazen is alive and well thanks to us,” Ya’alon said. “The moment we leave Judea and Samaria he is finished. In reality, there have been no negotiations between us and the Palestinians for all these months – but rather between us and the Americans. The only thing that can ‘save us’ is for John Kerry to win a Nobel Prize and leave us in peace.”
“I live and breathe the conflict with the Palestinians; I know what they think, what they want and what they are really planning,” he said.
“Secretary of State John Kerry — who arrived here determined, and who operates from an incomprehensible obsession and a sense of messianism — can’t teach me anything about the conflict with the Palestinians.”
“The only thing that might save us is if John Kerry wins the Nobel Prize and leaves us be,” he added.
“The American security plan presented to us is not worth the paper it’s written on,” Ya’alon said. “It contains no peace and no security. Only our continued presence in Judea and Samaria and the River Jordan will endure that Ben-Gurion Airport and Netanya don’t become targets for rockets from every direction.”
The first thing that must be said here is that if anything, it is Yaalon who operates out of a messianic obsession. I’ve documented here that Yaalon toured Australia with Moshe Feiglin under the auspices of the settler movement. Indeed, Meir Kahane’s grandson made the arrangements for them. When he was IDF chief of staff, his commander in chief, Prime Minister Sharon told him to assist in the withdrawal from Gaza. Yaalon refused. Sharon sacked him.
Not to mention that I’ve documented Yaalon’s outright lies both about Iran and the Palestinians. This man couldn’t tell the truth about anything concerning Arabs if his life depended on it.
But the real topper is for Yaalon to claim he knows what Palestinians think, want and plan. It’s something like the reverse of Freud’s complaint about women: “what do they want?” At least the Viennese psychiatrist made no pretence of knowing the answer. It’s far worse for someone like Yaalon to believe he knows when he hasn’t a clue. In fact, I’d venture to say that every opinion he has about Arabs is wrong. Having him as defense minister is akin to having Typhoid Mary appointed secretary of agriculture.
Returning to the peace talks, when Kerry promised the Israelis that their eastern border would be the “quietest in the world,” Yaalon exploded (Hebrew):
What are you talking about? You’ve offered us a plan that relies on sophisticated technology, satellites, sensors, war rooms filled by banks of TV monitors without our physical presence in the field. I ask you–how will technology respond when a Salafist or Islamic Jihad cell tries to mount a terror operation against Israeli targets? Who will deal with them? Which satellites will deal with the rocket factories that will set up shop in Hebron and launch their missiles at Tel Aviv and central Israel? In Gaza, terror groups already have thousands of missiles that can hit the center of the country. They’ve already transferred this technology and expertise to produce missiles in the West Bank.
Once again, note that neither Islamic Jihad or Salafist cells have attacked Israel from the West Bank. Nor is there any evidence the Israeli government or its intelligence agencies have produced showing that missile production expertise has been exported from Gaza to the West Bank. I haven’t even heard that there are missiles in the West Bank. This is sheer bluff.
We’ve just seen the death and burial of perhaps the greatest Israeli bluffer (read, “liar“) of them all, Ariel Sharon. Yaalon learned a few things at Sharon’s knee, it appears.
Yaalon continued with his diatribe, this time launching into his “they-must-recognize-us-as-a-Jewish-state-or-else” mode:
If there is no change [on the Palestinian side] regarding this matter, then there isn’t any purpose to the satellites or sensors the Americans propose. The five year-old in a suicide vest will continue trying to kill us when he grows up.
The ultimate chutzpah of this bemedalled jackass may be seen in his response to being taken to the woodshed by the Obama administration, which called his comments “unacceptable.” Yaalon, in typical Israeli macho fashion, did not apologize (don’t be fooled by any headlines you might read using this term). What’s to apologize for, after all? Here’s the defense ministry statement:
“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.”
I do so love “apologies” which blame the victim for taking offense (“if the secretary was offended”). You’re damn right he was offended. Further, to claim that such a derisive smear of Kerry contained no intent to cause him offence is to take leave of one’s senses. It would’ve been far better for him to say: strong words and emotions accompany this issue and I let my passions get the better of me. But that would be a western mode, not an Israeli one. Just as the joke says Italian tanks have one one gear–reverse, so Israeli psyches have only one gear–forward–and no apology mode.
Sorry for the hockey reference in the headline. I’m not even a hockey fan, but I thought the violent imagery of the forecheck suited both Yaalon political style and Israeli politics in general.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.