Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tony Blair: Time to go?

As point-man for the International Quartet, the former UK PM should not be defending Israel at Palestine's expense.

Marwan Bishara

From selling war to peddling peace

Many demanded that he be put on trial for war crimes. But in the age of empire, he was appointed as the point man for the Middle East peace process.

He went on to defend Israel's policy in the West Bank. He promoted its 'humane occupation' each time Israel lifted a check point out of its several hundred roadblocks that choke off life and the living in Palestine.

Tony Blair was nowhere to be seen during the first nine days of Israeli's 2008 war on Gaza. He was on holiday! Even British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was irritated: "People in the Middle East are entitled to ask themselves, 'Where is Tony Blair?" When 500 people were getting killed in the impoverished Gaza strip, Blair - according to his aid - was working tirelessly (at the private opening of an Armani store in London) to mediate a ceasefire!

Arguably, Blair's part time job as Quartet special envoy says as much about his capacity to rebound as it does about Washington's disrespect for the Arabs; about a humiliated and divided Middle East, or about the nature of the 'peace process' itself.

It also says much about the so-called International Quartet, that the Bush administration appointed the body to prelaunch its sponsored negotiations in 2002, which were, of course, an utter failure.

Why would the Secretary General of the United Nations that represents the whole community of nations accept to be a junior partner in a geopolitical configuration? It is beyond me! Or for that matter why should Europe or Russia have their own seats at the negotiating table? Who says these hypocritical or cynical entities can deliver peace in the Middle East!

Be that as it may, the Arabs can't fire President Obama or Russian Prime Minister Putin. They cannot ask Ban Ki Moon to step aside. They could, however, end the Quartet's mission.

They could at least tell the Quartet to fire its special envoy before he becomes persona non grata. He is already unwelcome in Palestine.

In retrospect, Palestinians reckon it's unfair to call Tony a poodle. Poodles are harmless. "

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