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Tony Blair: Ties between Gulf and Israel are 'game changer'

Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the UK addresses the World Travel & Tourism Council Asia Summit on 10 September 2013 [World Travel & Tourism Council/Flickr]
Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the UK addresses the World Travel & Tourism Council Asia Summit on 10 September 2013 [World Travel & Tourism Council/Flickr]

Tony Blair has cast doubt over the chance of a Palestinian state ever emerging in an interview with a Rabbi from the United Synagogue, a union of British Orthodox Jewish synagogues, representing the central Orthodox movement in Judaism.

During the online interview reported in the Jewish Chronicle the former British prime minister spoke gushingly about relations between Israel and the Gulf states. "That is the single biggest game-changer for the Middle East", Blair is reported saying while describing the relationship as "the biggest reason for hope in the Middle East."

His optimistic reading of the region's future however did not extend to the Palestinians. Blair, who was appointed special envoy of the Quartet – a foursome of nations and international and supranational entities involved in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian peace process – all but gave up on any hope of a Palestinian state emerging with Israel's ongoing annexation.

"It was very difficult to see how a Palestinian state survives that," said Blair in reference to Israel's planned annexation of the occupied West Bank and the Jordan Valley in contravention of international law.

READ: Israel daily: Saudi among Arab states who back Israel annexation plans

During the interview Blair said that he had spent the last few years working on strengthening ties between Israel and the Gulf states, which he said was not purely a "security relationship".

"Yes it's true they both have security interests in common. They are both worried about Iran," said Blair before explaining a new, emerging leadership in the region found common alliance with Israel. "That is the single biggest game-changer for the Middle East," Blair argued.

Blair's term as the Middle East envoy has been heavily criticised, and this latest remark is likely to be further confirmation that the former prime minister, who many consider to be a war criminal over his role in the invasion of Iraq, was never interested in seeking justice for the Palestinians.

Critics accuse Blair of constantly pandering to the wishes of Israel. In one instance Palestinian officials said: "Tony Blair shouldn't take it personally, but he should pack up his desk at the Office of the Quartet Representative in Jerusalem and go home," adding his job, and the body he represents, are "useless, useless, useless".

READ: Blair refuses to cancel lucrative deal with Saudi despite Khashoggi murder

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