Blair: Hamas should be part of peace process
(Snippets from Ha'aretz)
A Blair epifany? Not really. More like 'same old, same old', although the old Bliar may be looking for a way to 'gracefully' change his position on Hamas:
Hamas should be part of the Middle East peace process, said Tony Blair, former British prime minister and envoy to the region of the international quartet of powers, in comments published on Friday.
"I do think it is important that we find a way of bringing Hamas into this process, but it can only be done if Hamas are prepared to do it on the right terms," Blair said in an interview with the Times of London newspaper, published on its Web site.
'Ere we go again, Squire: putting some one-sided preconditions on Hamas. Didn't work then, won't work now. Donkeys and toes. How about some Israeli concessions in return for Hamas's?
Blair repeated the Quartet position that there can be no talks, official or unofficial, with Hamas until they renounce violence and recognize Israel. However, he said that his "basic predisposition is that in a situation like this you talk to everybody."
In Gaza, Hamas official Mushir al-Masri said Blair's comments were proof that the West was acknowledging that Hamas could not be dismissed, although he added that the envoy's demands were unacceptable to the Islamist group.
"Blair's statement...repeated the same obstacles set by the West: to reject the recognition of Palestinian democracy, to impose the siege, to provide cover for the Zionist enemy's crimes against our people and to refuse to deal with the legitimate government and parliament," Masri said.
He added that Hamas was a strong and popular political entity and that Blair's repeat of "the same old ideas" would solve nothing.
Even thick-as-two-short-planks here undersigned can see that recognition of Israel and renunciation of violence are two of Hamas's bargaining chips. Why not accept that and take those chips for a few Israeli chips? Make it bilateral, huh? A two way street, in plain English.
In Bliar's mind, allowing Hamas to sit at the table and listen like model children in a model classroom should be sufficient rewards for giving up these chips. But seeing how little past negotiations have actually obtained for the Palestinians, I can't help but understand Hamas' weariness at giving something in return for potentially nothing. Again.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner also recently expressed willingness to engage Hamas "when they accept the peace process, when they agree to start negotiations."
The Emperors Without Clothes still rule. But they don't rock anymore...