Quartet envoy Tony Blair's comments about the need to involve Hamas in the Middle Eastern dialogue are "worthless and stupid" but show that the world recognizes Hamas' strength, sources in the movement said Saturday.Blair, in an interview with the London-based Times earlier Saturday, said that "it is important that we find a way of bringing Hamas into (the peace) process," but added that "it can only be done if Hamas are prepared to do it on the right terms," alluding to Quartet preconditions – recognition of Israel and renunciation of violence.
"Tony Blair's words prove that Europe and the world have understood that any efforts to remove Hamas from the Palestinian political arena have failed and that today we are the foremost force in this arena," Hamas parliament speaker Mushir al-Masri said in a published statement.
Al-Masri added that "the only way to deal with Palestinian issues and translate them into agreements is through Hamas."
But al-Masri went on to criticize the content of Blair's Saturday statements, namely the Quartet's conditions for engaging Hamas, calling them "worthless and stupid."
"This is a repetition of the same obstacles the West has put up before, as an excuse to reject Palestinian democracy, hinder the Palestinian people and allow the Zionist enemy to continue its crimes – the latest of which was the war in Gaza and the refusal to deal with the legitimate Palestinian government and parliament," he said.
"The reintroduction of such statements shows the stupidity of Blair and others who insist on such a useless proposal," he added.
The Hamas movement published a similar statement, saying that Blair's statement "was a repetition of a former plot. Attempts to involve (Hamas) in the peace process have failed and been rejected by the movement from the beginning, as well as by other Arab sources in the international community."
"These statements indicate that Hamas is, indeed, the main source of power in the Palestinian arena," the statement went on.