Last February, Tony Blair suggested that the British government might be prepared to do business with ‘the more sensible elements of Hamas’ in order to restore negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. This was about as rational as suggesting in 1942, say, that one might do business with the more sensible elements of the SS. But hey — this is Britain. It does appeasement. Produce a sect of fanatics who are totally beyond reason and bent on wiping out every last Jew and American, defeating the west and taking over the world and Britain will be beating a path to their door, cap in hand. This is because, in its unsurpassed cynicism, Britain believes there is no-one on the planet who is not basically turnable, susceptible to bribes or threats or flattery or what have you because everyone is out for their own self-interest.And how little Blair himself seems to have learned that you cannot lead a convincing war on terrorism if you're going to separate between specific elements. I really can't feel sorry to see him depart.
I am told that shortly after making this remark about talking to the ‘more sensible elements of Hamas’, Blair was rudely disabused of such fantasies, not by Israel or America but by two somewhat unexpected sources. The first was Mahmoud Abbas, the front end of the Palestinian pantomime horse. The second was King Abdullah of Jordan. Both told Blair with great force that there were no sensible elements of Hamas, and talking to anyone inside that murderous organisation would be a total disaster because it would merely strengthen it.
Both men, of course, fear with very good reason that Hamas will destroy them. Britain does not. Sometimes, self-interest calls the bluff of even the most profound cynic. But how appalling — and how terrifying — that given half a chance the British government would feed Israel to the Hamas monster, while pretending to itself all the while that it was a pussycat. How little Britain has learned, even now, about the Middle East.
It looks like Gordon Brown is set to replace him as prime minister of Britain now, and given how crummy he is, that's exactly why I'm so glad that Nicholas Sarkozy was elected president of France. Without Sarkozy, Israel could find itself without any real friends in Europe.