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Hamas must renounce violence to enter peace talks, Blair says
06-01-2009, 09:24 PM,
Hamas must renounce violence to enter peace talks, Blair says
Quote:Hamas cannot be part of any Middle East peace talks until it renounces violence, Tony Blair said today. But he suggested that Barack Obama is about to intensify efforts to relaunch the stalled peace process.

Blair, marking nearly two years since being appointed Middle East envoy for the Quartet of the UN, US, EU and Russia, was making a rare appearance in Westminster, speaking before the Commons foreign affairs committee.

Blair told MPs that the Quartet would not change its policy of refusing to deal with Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip. But he did indicate that there were intensive "back-channel" contacts with Hamas, involving Egypt and others he would not name.

"In principle I am in favour of engaging with people," Blair said. "But this is not a failure of communication. Hamas are in talks with the Egyptians. The essential thing is to make the shift from saying 'we reserve the right to use violence' to a position that says 'we will have peaceful resistance only and be part of political negotiations'. It's better that Hamas be part of this process, but they've got to be prepared to agree to that. I hope they do because this issue would be a lot easier to deal with if everyone was around the table."

Hamas has refused to end violence, formally recognise Israel or abide by agreements made between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Hamas's bitter rival. But it has at different times signalled a readiness for de facto recognition of Israel and offered a long-term truce, while insisting on its right to resist.

Blair said such moves by Hamas would not be enough. "If they want to become part of this they have to stop being ambiguous," he said. "If they give a 'yes, but' answer it's not really any good. If there was a definite change of mind to embrace peaceful resistance to go the Gandhi route it would totally change the dynamics of this situation overnight."

Blair predicted Obama would use his much-heralded speech to Arabs and Muslims in Egypt on Thursday to signal the extent of his administration's "serious undertaking" in the Middle East.

"Obama is absolutely determined to move this forward and he's decided to do this from the outset. That should not be underestimated. I think June will be a very critical month in this whole business," he said.

Blair has been criticised from the start for focusing on economic development in the West Bank, sidestepping thorny political questions and being soft on Israel. But he warned that continuing Jewish settlement in the West Bank would make a two-state solution impossible — while insisting that major improvements on the ground had to go in parallel with "a credible path to a political settlement".

Gaza, Blair told the all-party committee, required a new policy "that helps the people to isolate the extremists."

Asked why he had visited the strip only once during his Quartet term, he said there were security considerations involved for him and others.

He admitted that the territory had been "devastated" in the month-long Israeli offensive earlier, which claimed about 1,400 Palestinian lives. "Gaza will refuse to be left to one side," he said. "That is the lesson of the last couple of years."
The revolution is not an apple that falls when it is ripe. You have to make it fall. - Che Guevara

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06-01-2009, 11:30 PM,
Hamas must renounce violence to enter peace talks, Blair says
Always blaming the defence..:(
[Image: Palestinian_Dawn_by_Palestinian_Pride.jpg]
06-02-2009, 02:36 PM,
Hamas must renounce violence to enter peace talks, Blair says
someone shoot this motherfucker. NOW you fancy seeking peaceful solutions??????? wanker.

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