Among the ten Likud Central Committee members who heard Mofaz were former Etzel and Herut members. Mofaz said, "I told the Prime Minister that he made two mistakes - one when he agreed to hold the referendum, and a second when he did not honor the resulting decision."



The party membership voted in May 2004 by a 60-40 margin against the abandonment of the Gaza Strip and northern Shomron and the destruction of their communities. Mofaz, after showing some initial opposition to the plan, went along with Sharon almost from the beginning. Mofaz and his wife lived in the Shomron for a short while after their marriage.



The Defense Minister told the Likud members, "The referendum was unnecessary. I never concealed or changed my opinion on this matter. In a country like Israel, the government is subordinate only to the Knesset, and not to members of a party. On the other hand, the moment the Prime Minister decided on the referendum and announced that he would respect its results, he had no choice but to do so."



Less than four weeks after the plan's defeat, Sharon presented a "different" plan to the Cabinet: Instead of destroying all 21 communities at once, it called for them to be eradicated in four different stages. The plan was approved by the Cabinet after some compromise elements were inserted, such as replacing the words "the government is obligated [to evacuate the Jewish towns]" with "the government intends."



In the event, as is known, the disengagement was implemented in exactly the manner rejected by the Likud membership.



From the Prime Minister's Office came this response: "It's true that the Defense Minister objected to holding the referendum, but we cannot believe that he would say that [we] should have listened to the decision and canceled the disengagement."



The Likud members with whom Mofaz met are known as the Likud Founders Division. Group chairman Jacques Levy said afterwards, "Mofaz did not volunteer the criticism; I pressed him. I also told him that though he was an excellent IDF Chief of Staff, he will go down in infamy as one who destroyed an entire area of land and threw out 8,000 Jews from their homes."



Another Mofaz comment of the past few days also made headlines. The Defense Minister told the Yediot Acharonot newspaper over the weekend that he had despaired of PA leader Abu Mazen. "Abu Mazen is a one-man show," Mofaz said, "with nothing behind him. We will not attain peace with the present PA leadership, and will have to wait for the next generation."



Labor Party leader Shimon Peres lambasted Mofaz, saying this morning, "We can't just skip over a generation. What, history will stop for a whole generation? We have to think what will be with this generation, not just the next one."