Minister Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beitenu) leveled harsh criticism at Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who said he was proud of his decision to withdraw from Lebanon in 2000 and that Israel will need to take additional unilateral steps.
"Barak is behaving like a battered wife," Landau told the 14th CleanTech 2010 Expo in Tel Aviv Tuesday. "Defense Minister Ehud Barak brought us the escape from Lebanon, he supported the pullout from Gaza and (was also responsible) for the failure of Operation Cast Lead, all of which bolstered Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza."
"Now he is suggesting future withdrawals. It reminds of a battered woman, who instead of standing up to the person who is beating her tries again and again to see what more she can give up on," said the minister.
During a conference on the withdrawal from Lebanon, held Monday evening, Barak said, "Hezbollah did not become stronger as a result of our pullout; it grew stronger because of our presence in Lebanon.
"The State of Israel will have to take additional one-sided measures," he added.
Referring to Barak's comments, Landau said, "We are partners in the same government, and it cannot be that every minister from the Labor Party act according to his or her own private policy."
A source close to the defense minister said in response, "Landau's remarks are deceiving. These are the facts: Hezbollah became stronger as a result of the IDF's presence in Lebanon. When the army entered Lebanon in 1982, Hezbollah did not even exist. When the IDF left Lebanon in 2000 Hezbollah was a terror group in possession of 7,000 rockets, some of which are capable of reaching Hadera.
"Operation Cast Lead clearly deterred Hamas; this is a fact as well. Before the offensive, thousands of rockets had been fired for seven consecutive years toward Sderot and communities surrounding the Gaza Strip. There is no comparison to the situation today," said the aide.