A great piece today on the Middle East. And no, it's not from Tony Blair. Journalist Brian Whitaker, quoting Tory MP Michael Ancram:

"If you're going to get a two-state solution with a viable, autonomous Palestine there is no way that that Palestinian state can be created without some involvement by Hamas - they are a significant part of the political structure of Palestine. You can't exclude them, you can't say you're going to do it without them, because you're not going to get there ...

One of the sadnesses of history - I've seen it so many times, including to an extent ourselves in Northern Ireland - is where you say 'I'm not going to talk to these people because they're terrorists'. We did it in our own history in Cyprus, we did it in Kenya. Eventually you do talk to them, eventually they become part of the political solution and you look back and say: 'Why didn't we start talking to them earlier?'"

With the hindsight of history, Margaret Thatcher was wrong to refuse to talk to the IRA. Political terrorists aren't the same as mercenary terrorists - they don't escalate their demands if you start negotiating with them. And now we have the spectacle of Tony Blair, having overseen the miraculous transition to peace in NI, making Thatcher's mistakes all over again in the Middle East by not talking to Hamas. Ugh.

This post was originally on LiveJournal.