Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Blair Puts Hamas' Words on Menu, Delicious

Photo by blhphotography.

"Palestine," a shaky distinction to begin with, is becoming even further divided. With the West Bank and Gaza being separated from each other by miles of Israeli checkpoints and being run by two different governments, it's becoming even harder to call them one country.

Middle East envoy and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair dangled a carrot to Hamas on Monday. He told the press, "It's worth repeating on behalf of the international community that if the situation could only change there, there would also be an enormous desire to help people in Gaza too, not just people in the West Bank." It's widely known that to receive aid and to stop getting the cold shoulder from the West, Hamas must do two things: renounce violence, and recognize Israel.

The West Bank, run by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, has experienced some economic growth due in part to making friends with the West and recognizing Israel's right to exist. The same cannot be said for Hamas-led Gaza, which split completely from the West Bank last June when Hamas took control of the presidential compound in Gaza.

I think it's gone too far for Hamas to do a 180 without some way to save face. Recognizing Israel's right to exist at this point is tantamount to eating their words, a fate worse than death. With accomplished and talented people like Tony Blair and Nobel Peace Prize winner former president Carter working on this, they should be able to think of a creative way for all sides to maintain some dignity.

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