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Tony Blair: I would Hesitate to Cede the West Bank to the Palestinians After the “Nightmare” Israel has Faced Since the Gaza Withdrawal

Now that the new Mideast peace envoy Tony Blair has spent a bit of time in Israel and the Palestinian-run areas since he stepped down as British Prime Minister last summer, he says he has gained a better understanding of the threat Israel is under.
“For people on the outside it is hard to understand the problems that the [Israelis] are having. Today I understand more than when I was the prime minister the difficulties here,” he said yesterday in Jerusalem. (For starters, Blair doesn’t have to rely anymore on the lies about Israel by the BBC and British newspapers, but can see the situation for himself.)
Yesterday alone the supposedly cash-strapped Palestinians fired 37 missiles on the southern Israeli working class town of Sderot – a record number for a single day. Five Israeli civilians were injured.

Blair: Israel faced post-pullout nightmare
The Jerusalem Post
Dec 13, 2007

If he were an MK (Member of the Knesset), the Quartet’s Middle East envoy Tony Blair would hesitate to cede land in the West Bank to the Palestinians after the “nightmare” that the Israelis faced after they disengaged from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005, he said yesterday.
However Blair, addressing the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, added that Israel must continue with the peace process despite its security concerns.

“I understand and sympathize with the problems that the [Israelis] are having. For people on the outside it is hard to understand… today I understand more than when I was the prime minister the difficulties here,” said Blair.

Blair told the committee about the economic programs that he hopes to launch to bolster the Palestinian economy. He explained that a diplomatic process would be useless unless there were real changes on the ground to improve the lives of the Palestinian people.
Likud MK Limor Livnat was angered when Blair refused to answer her question regarding PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
“He would not, or could not, answer the question of why the Palestinians leadership was entering into peace talks without recognizing Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state,” she said.

Tom Gross — Tom Gross is a former Middle East correspondent for the London Sunday Telegraph and the New York Daily News.

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