It is high time that the office of the Middle East Quartet Special Envoy finds a replacement. Tony Blair should leave the chair for a more dynamic, engaged, active and objective mediator one who would bring about results rather than dispense promises that are never kept. The Middle East conflict does not require Blair to end it.
For over two years since his appointment as a special envoy, Blair has done nothing when it came to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Middle East peace process. He has been ineffective in bringing about any influence to change the course of events. As a matter of fact, Blair has been consistent in one thing since his appointment — issuing statements that are filled with impractical suggestions, ineffective calls and hollow promises. Surely, Blair's uselessness and redundancy are ample reasons for the Quartet to dismiss him from his current post.
The past two years have been extremely turbulent for the entire region. Yet Blair was the last to be seen or heard from. Where was Blair when Israel waged its aggression against Gaza with an unjustified war against its civilian population? Where was he when weapons were used illegally on a massive scale? Where was the special envoy when the continued blockade against Gaza created a humanitarian catastrophe that continues today?
And where was Blair when the newly elected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly and insistently warded off any pressure or approach for a lasting and just peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians? Where has he been all this time as a derailed peace process remains crippled and dying?
There is no secret in the answer as Blair has not wasted any time since leaving the post of British prime minister. He has surely been successful as an entrepreneur and businessman, accumulating large sums of money through event appearances, book deals, lectures and advisory roles. This wealth creation — which he is definitely entitled to — has been so successful that it is estimated that Blair has managed to amass more than Dh75 million in about two years.
Perhaps Blair's business acumen far surpasses his peacemaking skills and given that his time should be fully allocated to such endeavours. The budgetary allocation provided to cover the operations of Blair and his office should be written off and donated instead to needy places such as Gaza and Haiti. It is shameful and to a great extent impractical that peace has to compete with business for attention. And hence, it is best if Blair leaves the post of Middle East special envoy.