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Israel defence minister lambasts Kerry over security plan

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Israel's defence minister has lashed at US Secretary of State John Kerry, saying a security plan he presented is "not worth the paper it was written on," an Israeli newspaper reported Tuesday.

"The American plan for security arrangements that was shown to us... provides neither security nor peace," Moshe Yaalon was quoted by Yediot Aharonot as saying.

The plan "isn't worth the paper it was written on," Yaalon reportedly said in private conversations with Israeli officials, accusing Kerry of being naive and implying that he is a nuisance.

Kerry has tried to push Israelis and Palestinians towards an elusive peace deal after decades of conflict, shuttling back and forth in 10 visits to the region since March.

His proposals include a security plan for the Jordan Valley, where the West Bank borders Jordan, including the use of satellite technology to monitor the situation on the ground, local media say.

Israel insists on maintaining a long-term military presence in the Jordan Valley, but the Palestinians reject that, instead urging deployment of an international force.

Yaalon criticised what he said was Kerry's naivety, and insisted that having boots on the ground was the only way to guarantee Israel's security.

"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.

Kerry was reported by Yediot as saying the security plan would make Israel's eastern border "the quietest in the world, more than the border between Canada and the United States."

Other Israeli cabinet members urged restraint from mounting personal attacks against US officials.

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told army radio he "agreed with the content" of Yaalon's remarks, but said he should avoid "personal insults."

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Israel's chief negotiator with the Palestinians, said on her Facebook page, "We can oppose negotiations in a responsible and measured way, without compromising relations with our best friend (the United States)."

Peace talks, which Kerry kick-started in July after a three-year hiatus, have been shrouded in secrecy thanks to a US-imposed media blackout.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140114/israel-defence-minister-lambasts-kerry-over-security-plan-0