The Israeli defense minister, Moshe Ya'alon, has apologized to Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes Kerry2020 Dem contenders travel to key primary states When it comes to Colombia, America is in a tough spot 36 people who could challenge Trump in 2020 MORE for his personally insulting comments about Kerry's comprehensive and profound efforts to achieve a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Ya'alon's comments were outrageous, American reaction was strong and deserved, and while the apology is welcome, very large issues remain.

Kerry has spent an enormous amount of his time focused on this issue, which is enormously important but is only one of numerous world issues facing the U.S. and the secretary of State.

Kerry is one of the most experienced, principled and knowledgeable American diplomats in generations, and his efforts to bridge the gap between Israel and the Palestinians should be applauded by decent men and women throughout Israel, the Middle East and the world.

My hope is that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will make every effort to achieve peace, including a freeze on new settlements in territories under negotiation, which is consistent with the policies of previous Democratic and Republican presidents, and leaders of countless nations around the world. And I hope any positive moves by Netanyahu will be immediately reciprocated by Palestinian leaders.

Time is short, the stake are high and Kerry should be applauded. Netanyahu should extend an olive branch to Palestinians, and Palestinians should respond quickly and in kind if he does.