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November 26, 2015 / 14 Kislev, 5776
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Tony Blair’

Tony Blair Appointed Chairman of European Council on Tolerance

Thursday, June 4th, 2015

Tony Blair, outgoing Quarter envoy to the Middle East and the former Prime Minister of Britain, has been appointed chairman of the European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR), an international organization based in Brussels that fights against racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia.

He succeeds Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former President of Poland

Blair said after his appointment:

The work they [ECTR] are doing is crucial, because despite our best efforts to build a consensus around tolerance in Europe, we still see injustice, discrimination and hideous acts of violence on the continent.

Incidents of extremism, rising anti-Semitism and surging Nationalist forces who seek to cultivate a spirit of resentment by playing on people’s fears, threaten our European ideals of freedom, equality and a desire for peace.

Among ECTR’s ongoing projects is the Model Statute for the Promotion of Tolerance, designed to introduce legal parameters of tolerance across Europe. The statue has been introduced at the European Parliament and various national parliaments across Europe.

“In his role at the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, it is clear that Mr. Blair has a strong commitment to the promotion of inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue through practical education, which aligns very clearly with the ECTR’s mission and goals.” Dr. Kantor added. “His international reach will also allow the organization to address globally the fight against anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia.”

Blair’s big name and big bucks are a magnet for influential people, and his appointment could be a two-edged sword for Israel if he tries to “balance” a campaign targeting incitement against Jews by appeasing the Palestinian Authority with charges of racism against Israel for the chutzpa to sanction organized soccer teams in Judea and Samaria.

Tony Blair Steps Down as Quartet Middle East Envoy but No One Cares

Thursday, May 28th, 2015

Tony Blair has stepped down as the Quartet’s Middle East envoy, and there is a possibility that no one will be named to replace him since there really is not much to do except  travel and rack up hotel bills.

The London Daily Record headlined his announcement with:

Tony Blair’s greatest achievement after six years as special envoy to the Middle East? Both sides detest him

Our own headline above actually is a bit misleading, because there really are plenty of people who care that he has quit, mainly the British taxpayers.

Blair is a multi-millionaire many times over. He does not receive a salary as envoy but his perks are enough to keep anyone in the pink forever.

He has flown more than 100 times since he took up the post as Quartet envoy in 2007 and has stayed with his 12-person entourage at a Jerusalem five-star hotel for approximately $1.5 million a year, the Record reported.

He and his staff have a penthouse office in eastern Jerusalem on a road known as Millionaires’ Row.

The Quartet consisting of Britain, the United States, the United Nations and Russia, has been paying $3 million a year for the privilege of letting Blair pretend he is busy.

He has been under constant criticism for doing little except occupying his office one week a month, and his knowledge of the Middle East does not go much beyond the fact that his wife’s half-sister Sarah Jane Booth converted to Islam after a “spiritual” experience in Iran.

U.S. State Dept, Jeff Rathke had a difficult time on Wednesday explaining to nosy reporters exactly what he has done for the Quartet, one of the brainstorms of the American government.

Rathke said:

 Tony Blair has been a valued partner and friend in our effort to bring peace to the Middle East, and as Quartet representative, he’s worked tirelessly and passionately to advance economic growth in the West Bank and Gaza over the past eight years.

What role is there for the Quartet in any kind of future negotiations?” asked one journalist, to which Rathke responded with a long answer that in one word said, “Nothing.”

In his words:

The Quartet plays an important role in keeping the partners – the EU, Russia, UN, the United States – engaged, up to date, and supporting the goal of the two-state solution…. But certainly we think the Quartet is an important format to support, work toward an Israeli – solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Associated Press reporter Matt Lee persisted and asked, “But when you say that it plays an important role, surely you have some kind of reason to say that. Right?”


Rathke turned on the tape recorder and stated:

As I said, the members of the Quartet all have important roles to play. The Quartet brings them together, allows them to share views.

But can Rathke “name a single accomplishment that the Quartet [since 2002] has – I mean, they presented – they came up with George Mitchell and the roadmap, but it was never implemented. I mean, what exactly has the Quartet done to further the cause of a peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians?”

Here is his non-answer:

Until the goal of a two-state solution has been achieved, then you can’t say that there’s been success…. We think it’s important that the Quartet exists and that the Quartet brings together key parties to support the negotiation process and the outcome we all desire.

Wait a minute, If it is “important that the Quarter exists” then who will replace Blair?

Rathke said:

I’m not aware of current plans to replace Tony Blair as Quartet representative.

But didn’t he say it is an important position?

Olmert Uses Tony Blair as Character Witness

Tuesday, May 5th, 2015

Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert brought to court Tuesday morning a letter from former “peace process” broker Tony Blair in an effort to stay out of jail for his conviction of pocketing approximately $150,000 from Morris Talansky of New York.

The prosecution asked the court to jail Olmert for more up to 18 months. The court will announce sentencing in three weeks.

Blair wrote that Olmert has dedicated his life to the public and to bring peace, for which he should be “admired.”

There are plenty of people who would like to see Olmert in jail for his “peace” efforts, but that is a different case that will be tried by the Divine Court.

Olmert played on the heart-strings of the court Tuesday, whining that if is thrown into jail, what could he say to his grandchild?

He also said he already has been punished because he cannot return to public service.

Olmert also brought documents from Mossad director Meir Dagan.

Report: Tony Blair to Resign as Quartet Mideast Envoy

Monday, March 16th, 2015

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair is reportedly set to announce plans to resign as Quartet envoy to the Middle East.

It was under Blair’s leadership that the Quartet demanded that Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization fulfill three conditions in order to receive any funding from Europe: recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence and terrorism, and agree to uphold agreements signed by prior Palestinian Authority governments.

Nevertheless, according to a report Sunday by the Financial Times, Blair’s role as representative to the region — recommended by then-U.S. President George W. Bush — as envoy for the United States, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations, was always controversial.

There was no specific term limit, nor was there a clear review requirement, and caused some “consternation in Europe and the UN.”

Eight years later, various parties are still complaining although Blair’s role was limited due to restrictions on his authority. It was never clear how much control the envoy actually had in affecting events in the region he served.

“People close to Mr. Blair argue that he cannot be blamed for the failure of the peace process,” wrote the Financial Times. “They say he has invested political capital and time on an unpaid mission because he is passionate about promoting peace.”

Palestinian Authority officials in the entity’s capital in the Samaria city of Ramallah don’t agree: officials there told FT they “hope so” when asked how they’d feel about Blair resigning. Blair’s office has had no comment.

Peres Talks Gaza with Quartet Envoy

Tuesday, July 15th, 2014

“Yesterday Egypt suggested a ceasefire to open a window of opportunity to bring the fighting to an end.  This morning the Israeli Security Cabinet accepted the ceasefire. Hamas isolated itself, the world calls upon them to end the fire. If they continue despite the proposal they will only bring more suffering to their people,” Peres said.

Peres praised the strength of the Israeli public and said, “Israel will continue to defend itself – it is our moral responsibility and our sovereign right. Terrorists aim to kill innocent civilians. Mothers and children. Jews and Arabs. However, the rockets did not achieve their aim. The strength of our army, our technological edge and the courage of our people allows Israel to stand strong. The Israeli public stood steadfast in the face of this ongoing provocation.”

“We all wish to lower the flames, we want an end to the fighting and we hope to see it soon.  But there can be no compromise with terror.  No more rockets. No more terror. Many of our neighbors stand with us in this fight. It is a global threat,” Peres said.

President Peres also addressed the Palestinian people directly, saying “The Palestinian people are not our enemies, the people of Gaza are not our enemies.  We share the same aim, which is an end to terror, security and calm for civilians everywhere. We must return to peace talks to achieve the only viable, long term solution – two states for two peoples.

“I want to say something to the people of Gaza. This was the third major escalation in the past 6 years. Each time it is innocent civilians that suffer and pay the price.  Rockets and terror bring you no closer to your national aspirations. Terrorism will not deliver for the Palestinian people. The children of Gaza deserve the same opportunities as children everywhere which is to be secure and free.

“But Hamas continues to hold them hostage. They seek death over life.  President Abbas is not only a partner for Israel but is the best hope for the Palestinians for a future of stability, respect, independence and prosperity. He is a man of peace, a responsible leader. Our hand will always be raised to defend ourselves against those who seek to harm us. And stretched out in friendship to those who seek peace,” Peres said.

For his part, Tony Blair said “the ceasefire is important because it gives us the opportunity to stop the tragic loss of life, the misery and the fear. The number of people who have died in Gaza is indeed tragic, people in Israel in these last days living in fear of terror and rocket attacks.”

Blair also noted that the ultimate success of a Palestinian state, which the Quartet supports, will be conditional on the complete cessation of rocket fire at Israeli.

“The (goal of the ceasefire is not the immediate cessation of rockets, but rather) to bring genuine hope for the future for the people of Gaza, to have Gaza opened up again to the world, to have Gaza and the West Bank re-united but to do so in a way that gives real and permanent security to the people of Israel, the freedom from rocket attacks, from tunnels, from terrorism.

“The international community is fully behind the efforts and will continue to be so,” Blair said.

PM Netanyahu Debunks Peace Deal Claim: ‘Peres Had No Deal With PA’

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

The Prime Minister’s Office came out swinging in an overnight Independence Day statement Yom HaAtzma’ut, bluntly denying that President Shimon Peres ever reached a final status deal with Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

The statement, reported overnight by Voice of Israel government radio, denied a claim by the president reported earlier in the day that he had reached an agreement with the Ramallah-based PA chairman three years ago.

“The only one Abbas has reached an agreement with is with [the Gaza-based terrorist organization] Hamas,” commented the PMO.

President Peres had told Israel’s Channel 2 TV in an interview over the holiday that three years ago he reached a deal in principle after four meetings abroad with Mahmoud Abbas. However, he said it was scotched by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who nixed the agreement just prior to what was to be a fifth and final meeting in Amman.

The president said Mr. Netanyahu told him to wait because Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair, a former UK prime minister also involved in talks with the PA, might bring to the table a better offer. “But the days passed and that deal never materialized,” Mr. Peres lamented.

Israel’s president – whose position is primarily ceremonial and traditionally not intended to be functionary – said his own discussions had been about land swaps and total land mass rather than boundary lines. Maps had not yet been drawn, the president said, reported the Independent Media Review and Analysis, IMRA.

Cancelling the fifth meeting, he allegedly told the PA Chairman in August 2011, “I’m sorry, but the government doesn’t accept what we have negotiated and there’s nothing more I can do.”

The “secret” talks were never secret, however, and there is some question over how far the president’s diplomatic authorization supposedly reached.

President Peres, who was the architect of the failed Oslo Accords, is expected to retire next month as he reaches the age of 90 after a political career of seven decades.

Meanwhile, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon is meeting today with the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee as lawmakers review the current security situation.

On the agenda are all recent events, including those of the ‘price tag’ incidents, ‘David the Nahlawi’ and the attacks in Judea and Samaria that followed the cessation of final status talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

Sharon Returns Home for the Last Time in Quiet Funeral

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Former General, Defense Minister and Prime Ariel Sharon was buried at his Shikmim Farm in the northern Negev Monday afternoon as a large number of reporters and small number of private citizens attended.

Egypt and Jordan, the two Arab countries with home Israel has a peace treaty, did not send any representatives to the memorial earlier in the day or to the funeral.

Turkey also did not send an official. Nor did China, Japan, South Africa and India, among other countries.

If old soldiers “just fade away,” then Sharon was one of them. He was considered a great soldier and general but he really did fade away, as evidenced by bitter memories, an eight-year coma and the sparse turnout at the Knesset, where his coffin was displayed on Sunday, and at the funeral Monday afternoon.

There were only three eulogies, two from Sharon’s sons Omri and Gilad and the first by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, who noted that Sharon was buried at his home after having returned there for the last time following eight years in a coma in hos Tel Aviv hospital room. “The IDF you so cherished will continue in your footsteps for many years,” Gantz said.

The late Prime Minister’s younger son Gilad delivered the last eulogy, noting his father’s political and military contributions. He added that Ariel Sharon built more than 100 communities, particularly those in the Golan Heights m Judea and Samaria.

No one, of course, would note at the funeral that Sharon also destroyed nearly two dozen of those communities in the expulsion from Gaza and northern Samaria in 2005.

Omri Sharon said “Look around Ariel, Look around and see the people who cherish your memory.”

Omri was looking at the people who had to come – the politicians, the military brass and police officers, who outnumbered the 100 or so people who were at the Sharon family farm where Sharon was buried.

More obvious were the thousands of people who did not come, not counting the Arabs.

Three factors kept people away from the funeral – bitter memories on both sides of the political fence, the long coma that made Sharon appear all but dead for years, and scary warnings from official sources of clogged highways and tough security checks.

The Arabs and lefties have only one memory of Sharon, a man who supposedly wanted nothing more to spill as much blood as possible.

The rightwing will never erase the memory of the Prime Minister of Israel ordering bulldozers to destroy the homes of 9,000 Jews and ordering the police and even the armed forces, whose job is to defend the country from enemies, yanking women and children, as well as men who served as combat soldiers and officers in the IDF, from their homes.

Hamas wanted to attend the funeral, which was only about a mile away from northern Gaza, with rocket fire but after having launched a couple in the morning, apparently heeded a stern warning by the IDF of what was in store for Gaza if it tried to do during the funeral.

Earlier in the day, at the memorial ceremony in the Latrun army site, where Sharon was injured in the War for Independence in 1948, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden  said, “We’ll never know what the ultimate arc of Sharon’s life had been if he had been able to pursue his goal of peace.”

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair remarked, “The state he fought for from the age of 14 had to be protected. When that meant fighting he fought. When that meant peace he sought peace… All Israeli leaders I’ve encountered have something unusual and precious – true love of country, state and land.”

President Shimon Peres, who planted a wreath of flowers after the funeral ceremony, said at the memorial. “You cultivated the land with your scythe and defended it with your sword.”

Not everyone made the expulsion of Jews disappear from memorial speeches. Ze’ev Zambish, long identified with the Amana organization that has built thousands of homes for Jews in Judea and Samaria, commented that the expulsion was “painful” but that he still “has a great love” for Sharon.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/sharon-returns-home-for-the-last-time-in-quiet-funeral/2014/01/13/

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