Jeffrey Goldberg has been musing about how Sharon made a great mistake leaving Gaza as he did in 2005. Matthew Yglesias thinks it wasn't a mistake, it was a calculated ploy to head off real negotiations; Goldberg agrees this may have been the case.
It may be a wee bit early to say if it was or wasn't a mistake, since the story isn't over yet. Back in 1994, for example, I (and many Israelis) felt Rabin's Oslo Process was wonderful; in 2004 most of us thought it had been a disaster; our perspective in 2014 hasn't happened yet. Bloggers and journalists have the disadvantage of reacting to things as they happen, with minimal data and no perspective in the best of cases.
I can't say what Sharon was thinking to himself: there isn't enough available evidence, only lots of speculation. I can say, however, that a large majority of Israelis supported his determination to leave Gaza. I was part of it, and can say about myself that our thought processes were not what Goldberg and Yglesias say Sharon's were.
I was convinced, and am convinced still, that the Palestinians have recognized that their single most powerful weapon against us is our control over them. This allows them to cast themselves as the oppressed and us as the oppressors, with myriad permutations of these two positions. Since they're our enemies, they are using this weapon to its full extent, as enemies are wont to do. They will not relinquish the weapon for anything less than all of the goals they've defined for themselves, and these include the migration of millions of descendants of the refugees of 1948 into Israel, acceptance by Israel of responsibility for the conflict, and rejection of any symbol of Jewish connection to Jerusalem. And that's the moderate Palestinians.
Given this dynamic, the Israeli imperative must be to end the occupation. Not as a way towards peace, which is not possible, but rather as the best way to manage the conflict. That's why I, and a firm majority of Israelis, supported Sharon in 2005 and voted for Olmert in 2006, when he openly campaigned on a program of ending the occupation in the West Bank even without Palestinian agreement. There will be excruciating complications in the application of the policy, but I'm still for it. Or rather, I'd prefer peace with the Palestinians, but since they're not willing to have peace on terms we can remotely live with, ending the occupation without the Palestinian's permission is the best option.