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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Interesting to read, and watch the slant American news has taken on the flooding we've been having throughout England..
It has been bad, and that's undenyable, and the damage will run into the billions, and there are entire villages under some 15 feet of water in places..
What's more, it's expected to continue raining for another couple of days, at least, displacing more than 150 thousand people..
And, that this is the second time in 4 years a large portion of the Midlands and the South have been innundated..
But it's perhaps difficult for the average American, who's country is comparitively vast, that Britain is a very small island, and at the moment about a third of it, is either under water, or in danger of soon being so..
It would be difficult to imagine the equivalent of, say, the Mississippi bursting it's banks and flooding all that to the east, to the Atlantic.. which proportionately is what has happened here..
All a matter of perception..

Tony starts in earnest today, with a visit to the West Bank, and then on to Israel..
But the one faction he will not be meeting with.. the one place he will not be going, is Hammas and the Gaza..
Now Tony's job is just beginning, but as has been discussed before here, he must find a formula for agreement, if not reconcilliation, between firstly, Hammas and Israel, and secondly, between Fatah and Hammas..
It's not as though Tony's not had some success in the past with bringing religiously separated groups together.. Northern Ireland springs to mind.. But the job he has set for himself, could, and more likely will, take years.
It may well be, that Tony has more success getting Israel to offer concessions.. and thus offer a quid pro quo to the Palistinians..
But one of the first problems he is going to face is again, Hammas, and the stricture demanding that group recognize Israel and cease attacks, for before that condition is met, Tony seems to hold to the American and British policy, of not dealing with 'terrorist' groups.
It took the IRA quite a while to realize that they could effect more change, and forward their cause, through a Parliamentary process than they could be blowing the UVF up, and being blown up in return. Perhaps Tony has, with this experience under his belt, the ability to convince Hammas to disarm as far as is needed to convince the International Community that they would consider ending their association with terrorism, if Fatah agreed to do the same.. and Israel brought something of it's own to offer..
Perhaps Hammas can be brought to the table, by lifting some of the economic sanctions on the Gaza, and allowing some of the literally starving masses access to a regular food supply..
But, the pride of a fervently religious man is immense, and that of a fervently religious group.. immeasurably greater..
Perhaps Tony is the man for the job..but whether he has the time, is moot.
Look for a Nobel Peace Prize for Tony in the next few years, in recognition of his even taking this job on..
It is more than likely though, that Tony himself realises the scope of this process, and would be happy if he could leave the job to someone else, once he's done his best to lay the foundation upon which a 'process' can be developed..
A relationship with Hammas is an inevidability, and this is what Tony must begin to lay out.. A plan wherein all benefit.. no-one loses face.. and the Palistinians have a future..
A bold undertaking, even for a British diplomat and politician..

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