2003 – Sharon is re-elected after two years as prime minister. During his first term, Israel has known the highest number of terrorism victims ever. On October 2003, Dov Weisglas, Sharon’s special advisor, asks his assistants to gather information on Gaza and says he thinks it is time to get out of there.
Sharon, at this point, opposes the move. Weisglass says to Sharon’s close relatives that if he does not carry out the Disengagement Plan, he would step down from the political stage as an old and insignificant man. At the same time, Weisgalss puts pressure on Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to support the plan, as he believes that Mofaz is the right man to convince Sharon.
On December 2003, Dov Weisglass goes to Washington alone, to a private meeting with then-U.S. National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice. He promises her as follows: in the first stage Israel would withdraw from Gaza, in the second stage there would be a deep withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, and in the third stage Israel would be willing to talk about the 1967 lines.
The investigation which is held at that time against Prime Minister Sharon, has a crucial impact on his decision to adopt the disengagement plan.
On February 2004 several developments have a crucial effect on Sharon’s decision to adopt the disengagement plan. Meni Mazuz is appointed Attorney General, Sharon is summoned for police interrogation in regards to the Greek Island scandal, and rumors that then-State Prosecutor Edna Arbel is about to indict him leak.
Sharon holds an important meeting with his close advisors (his two sons, Omri and Gilad, among them). Sharon decides to make a major diplomatic move in order to change the public agenda, and he comes up with the Disengagement Plan.
Two months earlier a meeting is held in IDF general headquarters to discuss the situation in Gaza. One of the options discussed there is a unilateral retreat. This option is rejected by all participants, including Chief Intelligence Officer, who says, “It would be a disaster.” Even Defense Minister Mofaz at considers a unilateral retreat an unrealistic move. But as soon as Ariel Sharon decides to go for the Disengagement Plan, and everybody sees that he’s very determined about it, they all fall in line and back it.
On August 2005, in a ten-day operation, all permanent Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip and four settlements in the northern West Bank are removed. The settlers are evacuated and the residential buildings demolished.
On June 6, 2006 Former Chief of Staff Moshe (Boogie) Ya’alon says Ariel Sharon’s disengagement plan was conceived out of political distress. He further claims that the pullout from Gaza failed and was planned by people lacking military and strategic expertise.