The last word.

Author:Lancaster, Pat
Position:Tony Blair's Palestine peace plan

So, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has announced that he will work for peace in Palestine until he leaves office in around 10 months time, and after that, no doubt will be available for speaking engagements on his efforts in that direction. He has already been off to the region,

met Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas and, for good measure, Fouad Siniora, prime minister of what is left of Lebanon; and they all seem to agree that Tony might be the very man to get the US-sponsored Road Map back on track. But, as they say, a drowning man will clutch at a straw.

How strange that Mr Blair did little but pay lip-service to peace for the Palestinians when he was deeply entrenched in 10 Downing Street; when he was firmly in situ as prime minister of the UK--in short, when he still had a shred of credibility.

Press pundits say the prime minister would dearly love to be instrumental in achieving some sort of peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians of the Occupied Territories, in order to win a place in history. What politician wouldn't? If there is a man or woman who can pull off such a feat, international immortality will be the just reward, never mind a mere place in history.

But don't get too excited, Tony Blair is not the man we are looking for.

The British prime minister is on the ropes; at home the unions, much of the electorate and even a considerable number of his own ruling Labour Party want him out, and want him out now. If he honestly wanted to make a contribution to peace in the Middle East, perhaps he should have started earlier in his nine years in office, and certainly he should have given more consideration to throwing in his lot with President Bush when he launched an invasion of Iraq, the effects of which may still be ongoing when Tony Blair's children's children are ready to vote.


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