- Current Latest Page
- All Contents of Site – Index
- New blog – The Feral Press
- Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
Or – Tweet this post
7th September 2011
As the day nears – 20th September – when the Palestinians are expected to put their proposal for Palestinian statehood to the UN for ratification, Tony Blair is working hard to try and resolve differences and nullify the need for that divisive call.
Tony Blair is seeking a political settlement within the next two weeks. He has said before that even if such a state were to be ratified by the UN, clearly without Israeli backing, it would make few practical differences on the ground. Differences regarding security and land claims would still exist leading, inevitably, to more conflict. In that analysis he is clearly right.
Now, if Mr Jon Snow (see last post) had been paying more attention he might have been able to work out why Mr Blair was in Paris last week. Something to do with this? His 70th visit to the region in his role as Quartet representative? Other EU leaders are no happier about the 20th September UN proposal than is Israel itself.
Video:Tony Blair at the Regional Cooperation Conference
Tony Blair says that resolution will only come through direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians
Quartet Representative Tony Blair set out his determination to see a return to direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians as soon as possible to go alongside the work being done to improve the facts on the ground.
Tony Blair was speaking in Tel Aviv at the first International Conference for Regional Cooperation, organised by Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom.
“Anything by way of economics can never be a substitute for politics,” Tony Blair stressed, in what is his seventieth visit to the region since taking up the Quartet Representative role.
But as far as making progress is concerned, there is “an intimate relationship between economics, politics and security” meaning building the economy “helps politics to work.”
Asked about what he thinks will happen in the region in the next few weeks as the Palestinian Authority plans to go the United Nations, Tony Blair emphasised the need to return to direct negotiations and said he was trying to find a framework that would bring the two sides back to the negotiating table.
“We should try as hard as we possibly can to find a way through that allows us to get back to the only thing that will resolve this, and that is a negotiation toward a viable independent state of Palestine and a secure state of Israel recognised by the region,” Tony Blair said.
“We can carry on with this impasse or that impasse,” he added, “[but] we always come back to the same issue and the same basic conclusion.”
While Tony Blair admitted that he does not know whether it would be possible to resume peace negotiations before September 20, when the United Nations General Assembly convenes, he said his focus was on trying to make that possible.
He acknowledged that the absence of negotiations created frustration all around, but said “there’s no way of looking at this in which we are in a better place without negotiations.”
He concluded by saying that he is still optimistic about peace and is basing that optimism on looking at the big picture.
“If you look at the big picture, it’s not in anyone’s interest not to make peace when you could make so much with peace,” he said. “It’s not sensible to remain in conflict when in peace we could create so much for both Israelis and Palestinians and for this region.”
Commenting on the unrest in the wider region, Tony Blair noted the difference between public protest in Israel and Syria. “What Assad is doing to his people is monstrous and wrong and in the end he won’t remain in power.”
“You’ve got freedom of assembly here…they’re not firing on demonstrators here and that’s the difference in a democracy.”
“OUTSOURCING” TO BLAIR
Blair has a long track record of negotiating between the Israelis and Palestinians built up over four years as the quartet’s special envoy. According to Daniel Kurtzer, former US ambassador to Israel, the US administration needed a high-profile political figure to push the parties towards negotiations.
“There is a bit of outsourcing going on to someone like Tony Blair just to see if he can make something work,” he told Reuters. “If he can, the administration will glom* on to it and if he can’t the administration has not soiled its nest.”
Yeah, we get the picture. If Blair succeeds it’s all Big O’s doing. If he fails, it’s … guess whose fault?
US says it’s in the lead – but Blair has the “bandwidth”
“We are leading this effort,” he [Kurtzer] said. “The president has given us this platform, everyone is working from that platform, and Blair, with all of his talents is a very important part of that.”
Jon Alterman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank said it would be very difficult to get the parties into talks because neither now seems to want them.
Asked why the Obama administration may have turned to Blair to do much of the current diplomatic work, he said it reflects in part Blair’s track record working with the Palestinians.
“It has something to do with the administration not feeling it has a senior envoy with bandwidth to do this right now,” he said. “And it has something to do with not wanting to expose the president politically by seeming to be pressuring Israel.”
CLINTON LOOKS TO ABBAS
Hillary Clinton has spoken to President Abbas on the issues. Excerpt:
White House spokesman Jay Carney meanwhile said the Palestinian effort was “not productive or helpful,” telling reporters that peace needed to be “negotiated directly by both parties.”
Making the UN membership bid without a peace plan in place would “not bring the Palestinians any closer to statehood,” he said.
Washington is said to be seeking to draft a proposal for peace talks that will be acceptable to Israel, as well as Russia, the European Union and the UN — the other members of the international peacemaking Quartet.
- JPost : Blair says he ‘s not giving up on Middle East peace
- Which way for diplomacy between the Big Angry Turks & the Big Angry Israelis?
- Senior US Republican says UN is anti-semitic (video)
- Former EU leaders (incl) Blair back common tax-raising powers
Sign the Ban Blair-Baiting petition here
I am staggered by all the hate directed towards our former Prime Minister. I believe that Tony Blair made the Iraq decision in good faith and is most certainly NOT a war criminal. If anyone should be tried at the Hague it should be those in the media for totally misrepresenting the information and facts. The media are to blame for fuelling this hatred as it is purely driven by them. (UK)