He told an audience in L.A. today that he favors a complex, multi-tiered approach consisting of the following steps:

  1. “Justice” for Palestine.

Anti-war MPs are crowing, treating it as an implied admission that Iraq was a mistake. Here’s how one member of Parliament’s reality-based community describes the effort to politically empower 350 million Muslims:

Fabian Hamilton, who sits on the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, said … “It was obvious from the start that you do not fight terror by condemning a whole section of the world community as extremists and exacerbating that by supporting the dreadful bombing on Lebanon. It sounds like he has seen the light.”

Blair has always fancied himself the bridge between Europe and America, but he must realize by now that the gap is unbridgeable. Here’s the key passage from his speech:

Let me make it clear. I would never put Israel’s security at risk.

Instead I want, what we all now acknowledge we need: a two-state solution. The Palestinian state must be independent, viable but also democratic and not threaten Israel’s safety.

This is what the majority of Israelis and Palestinians want.

Its significance for the broader issue of the Middle East and for the battle within Islam, is this. The real impact of a settlement is more than correcting the plight of the Palestinians. It is that such a settlement would be the living, tangible, visible proof that the region and therefore the world can accommodate different faiths and cultures, even those who have been in vehement opposition to each other. It is, in other words, the total and complete rejection of the case of reactionary Islam. It destroys not just their most effective rallying call, it fatally undermines their basic ideology.

And, for sure, it empowers moderate, mainstream Islam enormously. They are able to point to progress as demonstration that their allies, ie us, are even-handed not selective, do care about justice for Muslims as much as Christians or Jews.

But, and it is a big but, this progress will not happen unless we change radically our degree of focus, effort and engagement, especially with the Palestinian side. In this the active leadership of the US is essential but so also is the participation of Europe, of Russia and of the UN. We need relentlessly, vigorously, to put a viable Palestinian government on its feet, to offer a vision of how the Roadmap to final status negotiation can happen and then pursue it, week in, week out, ’til it’s done. Nothing else will do. Nothing else is more important to the success of our foreign policy.

It’s a deus ex machina, with the Palestinians in the role of deus. Gulp.

What’s strange is that Blair’s no sucker when it comes to jihadis and their pretexts. In fact, he goes out of his way at the beginning of the speech to criticize them for trying to exploit poverty as an Islamofascist grievance, which must irk the hell out of some of his leftist pals. And yet, when it comes the pretext di tutti pretexts, he’s entirely credulous. Pull the Palestinian rug out from underneath the region, he thinks, and Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, and Al Qaeda will all start to dry up.

Weren’t the free elections supposed to do that in Iraq? Once Muslims took control of their own government, the bombings would stop because there would no longer be any excuse having to do with resistance and occupation.

How’d that work out?

There’ll always be a pretext. Once the Palestinians get their state, the new pretext will be that it’s not contiguous. Once they get a contiguous state, the pretext will be that they don’t have the right of return, and so forth. And all along, savages like Nasrallah will be firing missiles and planning bus bombings in the hopes of luring Israel into another Qana-esque propaganda coup they can use to incite a new round of jihad — a point which Blair, to his credit, acknowledges in the present context but then somehow forgets during his fantasia about peaceful coexistence.

But then, a lot of smart people have gone stupid over that subject.

Incidentally, isn’t Israel the “living, tangible, visible proof that the region and therefore the world can accommodate different faiths and cultures“? If that doesn’t count, what about the peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan? Two-thirds of Jordanians are of Palestinian ancestry.

Not good enough, I guess.

Here’s what the great hope of the world’s up to this evening, by the way. “[M]any Palestinians are angry with her because they think that all black people should be on their side.”

Current MI5 threat-level assessment: Severe.