Thursday, June 28, 2007

"That is that, The End."

Yesterday my mind was forced back in time to 1997. Princess Diana was still alive, Accommodation in UK was cheaper, Harry Potter was barely known, the second intifada was yet to be, Titanic was playing in Movie Theaters and Tony Blair was elected Prime Minister of the UK.

When I heard of Tony Blair's pending resignation, I joked that he should run as our next Prime Minister, here in Israel, not realizing how close to the truth that was to become. It has now been announced that he is to be Middle East Envoy to "The Quartet".

Tony Blair has been a friend to Israel, not a lassez faire friend like Bush, but an active advocate for Israel's right to exist and defend herself. Sure, he isn't "that guy" and doesn't back every move we make, but he's a pleasant change from the full on critic that so many other of friends are. Rather than being a Bush copycat in passive positivity, Blair seems to share the passion that he may have learned from the former US President that occupied the Oval Office when Tony secured his landslide victory. Whether you agree with the policies or not, both Bill Clinton and Tony Blair have been proactive players in trying to fix this mess.

Personally, I know that Blair was the best Prime Minister the British public had in my lifetime, and he's left very large shoes to fill. If his impact in the Middle East is anything close to the success he nourished in UK and international politics, then maybe, just maybe, we might reach a point where we can start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Despite my optimistic hope, the likely outcome will be the occasional high profile meeting, perhaps a front page headline every quarter, and business as usual for Israeli-Arab relations, but if the public and government can learn one thing from England's last decade, it is the lesson of change.

Thatcher and Major destroyed elements of the United Kingdom with their policies, and the public demanded change. We mustn't let Olmert and his party of opportunists let us sink lower than we are now, and when elections do come around, it will be time to rid ourselves of the apathy that is holding us back and bring about a change in direction.

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