When you carry a name like Levy, especially Daniel Levy, most people know who you are. Yes, Daniel Levy is a Jew, even an Israeli.
And indeed he is, and not just an ordinary Jew. Daniel Levy is a former Israeli peace negotiator. He is also the son of Tony Blair's former Middle East envoy, Lord Levy.
So, perhaps his words of advice on Middle-Eastern affairs to Tony Blair may yet carry some weight.
Tony Blair has been appointed as a Middle East negotiator with strong US backing.
But there is growing doubt about his mandate to solve the Israeli-Palestinian problem, principally because the US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, said the US would lead on the ‘political track’, leaving Mr Blair to focus on building up the Palestinian economy and institutions.
In other words, the US already has a predetermined political course (under Israeli 'guidance' of course) and doesn’t want a British negotiator - one probably hell-bent on making a fresh favourable name for himself to mitigate his disastrous backing of the US illegal Iraq war and occupation - to come up with actually genuine peace terms for BOTH sides to subscribe to.
Israel has undoubtedly anticipated that, and would have instructed Washington to restrict likely loose cannon Blair – ‘loose cannon’ in Israeli eyes.
The Israelis have no intention of accepting any peace terms unless it dictates what those terms should be (and it certainly would be able to do that if Washington continues to directly handle the peace talks).
Obviously Israel wants to remain in a superior position to retain large tracts of Palestinian land (but sacred Hebraic Judea and Samaria), controlled Palestine as a vassal state preferably within Israel, and the biggest prize of all, Jerusalem.
Yes, Jerusalem – the wonders of religion in keeping two Abrahamic faith apart.
But Levy said that, assuming Tony Blair is permitted to revive the Middle East peace process, the peace talks will be doomed unless the US accepts that Hamas is a very significant force among the Palestinians, and begins talking to the militant group. The US just cannot just listen to Israel only, and everyone knows Israel doesn’t want Hamas which is far more difficult to control than a more corrupt al Fatah.
Mnay political observers expect Levy to informally advise Tony Blair on the ins and outs of the tricky Middle East situation. Levy also warned that al-Qaeda could recruit from Hamas disaffected and marginalized supporters, unless Hamas is allowed, in Levy’s words, "inside the tent".
Levy warned that the US (and Israeli) efforts to bolster the Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, to the exclusion of Hamas, won’t work if it ignored Hamas's control of Gaza, and unstated (but included here by Ktemoc), the support of the majority of the Palestinians.
Levy said Blair's record in Northern Ireland meant he understood the need to talk to extremists, which may be the reason Israel had instructed Washington to limit Blair’s role to just building up the Palestinian economy and democratic institutions while the US directly controls the peace negotiations/process (which effectively means Israel will be in the driver's seat).
George Bush had persistently called on Hamas (but not Israel) to renounce violence, and to recognize Israel. He said the US would refuse to deal with Hamas until it did so.
But Bush fails to understand that he can’t force an organization like Hamas to do what he wants – for example, has Hamas succumbed after more than one year of deprivation of Palestinian money, illegally held back by Israel, and the US engineered campaign to deny Hamas of financial donors? All under Israeli direction of course. No, Hamas continues to be defiantly unmoved by such threats and deprivation, and is still supported by those long suffering Palestinians.
Levy said that by deliberately ostracizing Hamas, Bush was presenting a ‘misguided’ gift to al-Qaeda recruiters. ‘Misguided’ by Israel?
Levy even said that Hamas is a potential ‘bulwark against al-Qaeda’.
He believes that through inclusive negotiations, Hamas could find a way of accepting the reality of Israel. He quipped: "We don't need them to be Zionists."
Of course not, but we have some of those (Zionists) in Malaysia we could lend/send to Israel. ;-)