Tuesday, December 19, 2006

democracy now?

Tony Blair, Ramallah, 18 December

First of all we respect any democratic mandate, but the President also has a democratic mandate, he is the elected President of the Palestinian people. And it is not that people are refusing to allow Hamas to participate in the way forward, that way is open to them, they know what has to be done, but what we are saying is that they cannot have a veto on the process or the progress that all of us want to see. Because if the real issue is indeed the suffering of the Palestinian people, the desire for people to achieve statehood, we have a way forward. And one of the things I want to say to people in this region is understand the international community is in one place on this, we all of us want to see the two state solution, we want a viable independent Palestinian state where Palestinian people can govern their own affairs, where they can achieve prosperity, where they can achieve justice. We can't do that however unless it is done with people who accept the very basis of that two state solution, namely that we have two states. And therefore the issue is not about excluding anybody, the issue is whether people exclude themselves.


We don't respect any democratic mandate that gives an answer we don't want. Hamas cannot participate even though they were democratically elected. We have decided the parameters of discussion (even though we don't have anything to do with the discussions and we're not actually the parties who are directly involved in the dispute) but we have already decided that what Palestinians Actually Want is a two-state solution on the terms we lay out. And if they don't want it, tough.

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