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.