Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Monday slammed the political Left for demanding an immediate solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, accusing the Left of behaving like a little child.
"The Left is behaving like a little child who says 'I want'. If it wanted to, the Left would understand we cannot achieve a peace agreement at this moment," Barak said at the Labor faction meeting, according to Channel 10.
"The Left is wrong to demand an immediate political solution. There are no magic solutions," Israel Radio further quoted Barak as saying.
The Labor chairman apparently made the remarks in response to a statement by MK Daniel Ben-Simon, who warned of "a huge blast" within the faction and party if the government failed to achieve progress in peace negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.
"The peace process is the goal of our party," Ben-Simon said. "If there is no process, it will affect both the faction and the party, leading to a huge blast."
In response, Barak told the new MK, "You have been in the Knesset for nine months, and I've been in this business for 25 years. I learned long ago that I am not God, and it is time for you to realize you are not God. I'll tell you a secret - [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu isn't God either."
Also, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas announced that Palestinian elections would be held in the Gaza Strip, West Bank and east Jerusalem on January 24, Barak assessed that at the earliest, the PA elections would be held in July 2010.
In any event, Barak reportedly said, there was no reason to stop negotiations with the Palestinians during the election campaign.
Last week, Ben-Simon resigned as chairman of the party's troubled Knesset faction.
In a letter sent to fellow faction members, Ben-Simon said that the party's goals within the coalition were to promote the peace process, remove outposts and reduce socio-economic disparity. Ben-Simon argued that the party had not accomplished those goals and was betraying its constituents.
Rebecca Anna Stoil contributed to this report