Former UK Prime Minster Tony Blair, who is currently the official Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East, appeared on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Tuesday to talk about Israel and the Middle East. During the course of the conversation Joe Scarborough, the co-host of the show, asked Blair how he was able to help negotiate peace in Northern Ireland, and how he might be able to apply the same strategy to the conflict between Hamas and Israel.
Here is The Algemeiner’s transcript of the conversation:
Scarborough: So it seems to me there’s not going to be–and listen you look at my votes in Congress I’m as pro-Israel…I should have a key to Tel Aviv on my wall in my office but we’re not going to have peace without Hamas being at the table. We’re just not–you talk about what you can tell is going to happen, you may not be able to say this–as a strong supporter of Israel I know, if Hamas is not there then you’re going to have them killing whoever makes the deal. So how do you move down from where they are to to how you move the IRA from where they were to–
Blair: The key was we managed to get an agreement that the violence stopped. So in Ireland in order to get people in the door of the negotiating room the violence had to stop. So, in my view, if you were able to do that and they were prepared to be a part of a negotiation for a two state solution then you might be in a different position. The trouble is at the moment it’s very hard to say to the Israelis ‘negotiate with them’ in circumstances where they’re firing rockets out of Gaza.
Scarborough: And still saying you don’t have the right to exist-
Blair: Yeh, so would it be better if you had a Hamas at the table, yes, but in order to have them at the table in anything other than a totally unrealistic–
Scarborough: What do they want? Other than the destruction–they know Israel’s not going away. What does Hamas want?
Blair: To be frank you can’t be sure. And the point about an organization like Hamas is that it’s part Palestinian nationalist, but it’s part broader Muslim Brotherhood and therefore what the agenda is is sometimes hard to decipher, but the basic fact is that if you want to get people around the table there’s got to be an agreement that the violence stops.
The video of Blair’s comments can be viewed below.