WASHINGTON, Jan. 14 (Xinhua) -- The United States on Tuesday rejected as "offensive and inappropriate" remarks made by the Israeli defense minister about Secretary of State John Kerry's ongoing peacemaking efforts in the Middle East.
"The remarks of the Israeli defense minister, if accurate, are offensive and inappropriate, especially in light of everything that the United States is doing to support Israel's security needs, " White House spokesman Jay Carney said at a regular news briefing.
Israel's Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper on Tuesday quoted Moshe Ya' alon as saying that Kerry was "obsessive and messianic" in pushing for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement. Hours later, the minister tried to play down the episode by heaping praise on Israel-U.S. relations.
"Secretary Kerry and his team have been working nonstop in their efforts to promote a secure peace for Israel," Carney said, adding "To question Secretary Kerry's motives and distort his proposals is not something we would expect from the defense minister of a close ally."
Kerry made his tenth trip to the Middle East early this month after taking office in February 2013, in his quest for a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians by the end of April, a near-term foreign policy goal set by the Obama administration.
State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf also criticized Ya'alon 's remarks as "offensive and inappropriate," saying Kerry and his team "have been working day and night" toward a secure peace for Israel because of his "deep concern for Israel's future."