Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the Quartet’s Middle East envoy, on Sunday called on Hamas to clarify whether it is part of a “broader Islamist movement with regional designs” or if it would accept a long-term peace alongside Israel.
Blair’s comments were made during a visit to Gaza, in which he warned of “another eruption” in the enclave and called for a new approach with regards to peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA).
“I’m extremely concerned that if you leave Gaza in the state it’s currently in, you’ll have another eruption, and violence, and then we’re back in a further catastrophe, so we’ve got to stop that,” he said, according to the AFP news agency, as he made his first trip to Gaza since the July-August war between Israel and the territory’s Hamas rulers.
Britain’s former premier also called for a rethink on how peace could be reached, two decades after the historic accord which was to have paved the way for a final agreement.
“So 20 years after Oslo we need a new approach to Gaza and a new approach to peace,” he was quoted as having said.
“The problem in my view, having spent almost eight years in this role, is not as often thought, locking negotiators in a room long enough to make an agreement,” added Blair.
“You can lock negotiators in a room for eternity and they can’t make an agreement.”
Blair also said that “the place to start with peace is actually Gaza, because if we’re able to change the situation in Gaza, politically and economically, then we’re able to do a lot of changes in the whole of the politics of this conflict.” Read more at Arutz Sheva.