What should Bush & Blair do for an encore?

Invest in Gaza. I mean really invest in Gaza. Invest like nobody else has ever done. Reopen the airport, build a university, build two hundred schools, build a proper public transport system, a hospital. Better yet, build a health service. A modern harbour and freight handling facility, a solar power grid and a hydrogen distribution system (for the future). Be really ambitious and make no demands. Be as generous as congress will allow and apply no conditions. Don’t be timid. Apply new-era American foreign policy thinking to Palestinian nation building. Be as bold and as implacable as you’ve been in Iraq. Do nothing covertly. Fund nothing secret or divisive. Send no troops or spooks. Send only engineers, administrators, geeks, entrepreneurs and educators. Spend a tenth (or even a twentieth) of what you’ve spent in Iraq and transform life for Palestinians in Gaza.

Don’t be shy. Do it publicly and openly and enthusiastically. Plough money into Gaza in a smart and aggressive way. Set up a task force and put an office with a shop-front in every town. Of course, you should televise the whole thing in real time. Win the hearts of the donors as you empower communities and individuals. Don’t pay for a single fighter jet, Hummer or cruise missile. Don’t waste your money, employ it cleverly. Fund research, technology, IT, medicine, social capital, open media, agriculture, water conservation and education.

I’m 100% serious. This is your big chance. If you’re smart and generous and trusting, Gaza will be your first big foreign policy success story. Hamas and Al-Qaeda, the Iranians and the Saudis – they’ll all be irrelevant. Gaza will thrive. You will leave behind a permanent record of your generosity and engagement. It’ll be like the Marshall Plan meets Reality TV. Don’t hang around – get on with it. You won’t regret it.

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