Monday, January 28, 2008

Israelis halt Gaza project backed by Tony Blair

Tony Blair has suffered a setback in his role as Middle East peace envoy after Israel blocked progress on a key project.

Contributed by Lucia in Spain

"Work on a Palestinian water treatment plant, championed by the former prime minister, has been halted after Israel refused to allow construction materials into Gaza to finish the job.

Further delay risks what Mr Blair has called "a humanitarian catastrophe" as winter rains threaten to cause the existing facility to overflow, flooding the homes of more than 10,000 people who live nearby.

Mr Blair won public assurances from Israel last November that it would allow the final items needed to complete the £8?million project. But subsequent refusals by Israel to allow in enough cement means that all work has stopped.

Mr Blair, who has been criticised recently by Palestinian businessman for failing to stand up to the Israelis, declined to comment on Israel's actions......."

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