The Instability Opportunity

1:10 p.m. E.T.

My “Morning Joe” colloquy with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in which he says Middle East unrest could help push Israelis and Palestinians towards a solution.

MARK HALPERIN: You’ve twice mentioned instability in the region as being something that runs counter to the prospects of a negotiated settlement. Aren’t we going to have instability, now, for a long time? People are talking about Jordan being unstable. Egypt looks like it’s going to be unstable for a long time. So, if instability is an enemy of a deal, don’t we have to settle it now for a good long time?

TONY BLAIR: That’s possible but, actually, there is another way of looking at it, which is that, right now, with this instability in the region, this is the time for the two sides to recognize it would be sensible to make progress and, therefore, get to the politics of both sides, a bit of insulation from what is otherwise a situation that is… It’s hard to imagine what’s going on in the Middle East right now. And, remember, one of the things I will say to people about this: remember, Egypt, 50 years ago, had a population of 30 million. Today, it’s 90 million. It’s tripled its population. The average age of people in Gaza, it’s 50 percent under the age of 18. So you’ve got a situation where you’ve got a young population all over that region. They’ve got to have jobs. They’ve got to have opportunity and hope for the future. This is not just about politics. It’s also about the economy and, frankly, if you could take the Israeli-Palestinian thing to a better place, you would have then, I think, a better chance of not having that dispute then get caught up in the turmoil of the region, which I think there’s every prospect if we don’t move it forward.

Watch the video above.

Related Topics: Egypt, gaza, Israel, Mark Halperin, Morning Joe, MSNBC, Palestine, Tony Blair, News

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