Speaking on IsraelNationalRadio, Arens called the disengagement a “self-inflicted wound” and “the biggest internal crisis that Israel has ever faced.” Arens continued, “It will leave some serious scars behind. It’s going to be very bad, and I’m sorry I can’t be more optimistic.”

Listen to the related interview on Israel NationalRadio

On political issues, Arens characterized former Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s resignation as “better late than never” and said that ministers who oppose the disengagement, but stay in the government, will have to share responsibility for the consequences.

Arens refused to say whether he would back Netanyahu for head of the Likud party, saying that primary elections are still a way off. He did say, however that he would not back any candidate who “supported the disengagement or (opposed it and) stayed in the government.”

Regarding MK Uzi Landau, who declared his candidacy for head of the Likud last week, Arens said Landau was “a man of principle”, but refrained from an outright endorsement.

On speculation that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon might split the Likud and create his own political party, Arens said that in his estimation, splitting the Likud was not in the offing. “Sharon once left the Likud and set up his own party Shlomzion, that didn’t do so well. He might want to repeat that experience, but if he does, I don’t think many in the Likud will follow him,” he said.

Another factor mitigating against a split, according to Arens, is the large majority in the party that opposes the disengagement plan. “We know that,” he said, “because there was a referendum on Sharon’s initiative and a large majority rejected Sharon’s idea of a disengagement plan.

As far as stopping the disengagement before it’s completed, Arens said, “the show’s not over.” While he said he was not optimistic that the process could be stopped at this stage, he did add that “in Israel you never know.”

The entire interview with Moshe Arens can be heard by clicking here