November 22, 2012

So where was the Reverend Tony Blair?

Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister and Israel's envoy to the so-called Peace Quartet, at first came out in favour of Israel's operation against Gaza.  See this from The Daily Telegraph a few days ago:
The former prime minister and current Middle East Peace Envoy says that Hamas militants in Gaza must stop firing rockets, to put an end to Israel's retaliation and prevent the conflict from escalating.
Note the assumption that Israel, not Hamas, is retaliating.

See some more, this is from 15 November 2012, by the way
Tony Blair told ITV News: "If rockets are fired out of Gaza by Hamas or other militants in Gaza and aimed at Israeli towns and villages with the express purpose of killing Israeli civilians, the government of Israel is going to retaliate and the Israeli people will expect them to do so.
"So the most important thing is we stop the rockets from coming out, the retaliation can then stop, we get some ceasefire or calm into the situation and then work out a better way forward,
Now let's look at the Reverend's website on 19 November 2012:
Commenting on the conflict in the Middle East, on his 92nd visit to the region, Quartet Representative Tony Blair said:
"The suffering of innocent civilians, Palestinian and Israeli, makes a complete cessation the urgent objective. Israeli families need to be free from fear of rocket attacks and Gazan families relieved of the pain of the air strikes, so a ceasefire should be brought into being as soon as possible. We can then work on an agenda that ensures long-term the security of Israel and the return to normal life for Gaza, which has been absent for too long.
“We also continue to work on a credible political horizon for the two state solution that is, and remains, the only viable solution."

Note four days after openly siding with the racist war criminals of the State of Israel he now makes a pretence of even-handedness.

Now that Hamas appears to have won this latest round of Israel's Palestinian cull let's see The Guardian report on the cessation:
Announcing the ceasefire in Cairo, Clinton commended Egypt's mediation. "This is a critical moment for the region. Egypt's new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone for regional stability and peace."
She also thanked Egypt's Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, for his mediation efforts and pledged to work with partners in the region "to consolidate this progress, improve conditions for the people of Gaza, and provide security for the people of Israel".
Despite securing support from western governments for its initial military operation against Hamas, Israel had failed to win US and European backing for a ground invasion as a series of key US allies in the region, led by Egypt and Turkey, strongly protested against the Israeli assault.
The agreed truce, mediated by Morsi and his spy chief, Mohamed Shehata, came after days of talks and frantic shuttle diplomacy involving regional leaders, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, and Clinton.
So where was the Reverend Tony Blair? Let's go back to His website:
Commenting on today's announcement, Quartet Representative Tony Blair said:
"I very much welcome this ceasefire, and highly commend the central role that Egypt’s government has played in bringing it about – with the helpful efforts of Secretary Clinton and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
“We must now act quickly to ensure long-term progress in the region so that the security of Israelis is ensured, and that life returns to normal for Gazans through continual improvements in their infrastructure and economy.
“We firmly believe that a two state solution is the way forward.”
Actually, unless this is the calm before an even bigger Israeli storm then what appears to have happened here is that resistance from Gaza together with support for the Palestinians from Egypt and Turkey has had the US ordering Israel not to persist in its Palestinian cull for the time being. There are many lessons which can be drawn from this, I'm sure, but Blair seems to have played no role in this whatever, except to side with Israel, pretend not to side with anyone and then report a ceasefire deal on his blog as if all the main players were working for him. So that's where he was.  Same as me, he was at home updating his blog.  So former UK PM, Israel's envoy to the Peace Quartet, Very (excruciatingly) Reverend, Tony Blair, can now tack on to the end of his CV (resumé for Americans), blogger. Yes, it's Blogger Blair!

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