(photo credit: Associated Press [file])
The disengagement from Gaza "was a mistake" National Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer told Non-Stop Radio (Radio Lelo Hafsaka) on Thursday.
"I admit and confess," Ben Eliezer said, "I was with those who strongly supported [former prime minister] Ariel Sharon, and today I say with my head held high: We erred, we made a very big mistake."
According to Ben Eliezer, a move such as the Gaza pullout can only be successful when the territory one leaves is "handed over to responsible hands and anchored in agreements and international guarantees. Here we have a precedent - a territory we left turns into a base for terror - period."
Regarding the ongoing Kassam rocket fire at Israel from the Gaza Strip, Ben Eliezer said there is no escaping the need to act and to respond to the barrages.
When asked about potential harm to the Palestinian population in Gaza that would likely result from an Israeli military response, the Infrastructure Minister said attempts to prevent harm to civilians are futile in light of the current situation.
"Israel must respond, what else?"
Ben Eliezer continued: "Israel continues to say 'I bind myself to ethical obligations,' that no other country in the world binds itself to.
"There is a contradiction here between two disciplines," he said. "One nation is prepared to commit suicide and sees it as a mitzvah and an honor, and another wants to spare every ounce of blood."
Ben Eliezer's comments came Thursday morning as three Kassam rockets landed in Israeli territory. Two of the rockets landed in open fields near the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon - one near a strategic installation. No one was wounded and there was no damage to property.