#Tony Blair recently resigned as Middle East #Peace Envoy of the ‘Quartet on the Middle East,’ or sometimes simply known as ‘The Quartet.’ His resignation ends an eight year tenure as Peace Envoy. His time in the position has been marked by criticisms and praise, often depending on how Blair’s track record on the United Kingdom’s foreign policy is seen during his time as Prime Minister.
Tony Blair assumed the role of Middle East Peace Envoy for the Quartet on the same day that he resigned as Prime Minister of Britain. The Quarter is made up of the #United Nations, the United States, Russia and the European Union. At the time, Blair’s appointment was opposed by Russia.
There is debate on whether Blair’s time as Peace Envoy was a success or a failure. He has the experience, having played a key role in the Good Friday Agreement in the Northern Ireland conflict, and in tightening relations with Libya and Syria prior to the Arab Spring. Some detractors, however, were less than happy given the human rights records of the latter two and the findings the Chilcott Inquiry, investigating false evidence used by Tony Blair, as Prime-Minister, and George Bush to justify the invasion of Iraq.
Blair’s remit as Peace Envoy focused mostly on the Israeli-Palestine conflict, but a consultancy firm that he owns, sitting on the board, was (and still is) arranging his attendance at conferences and private consultations with regional leaders, which made Tony Blair considerably rich and drew criticism that he did not take his position seriously. His resignation coincides with public anger over his demands to be paid more than Bill Clinton for a shorter speech and then dropping out upon being refused, at the Eat food forum for philanthropists and leaders in Stockholm.
While focusing on his role as the Quartets Peace Envoy, Blair
did not actually achieve any significant agreements between Israel and Palestine which is another
source of criticism against him. He had proclaimed, for example, a new peace
plan based on the Peace Valley Plan, championed by Israeli and Palestinian
moderates who wanted to normalise relations with economic cooperation and notably supported by Turkey, Germany or Japan, but nothing was presented. In
fact, in 2011 negotiations went backwards over Israel’s refusal to stop demolitions of Palestinian homes and their replacement with settlers. The
resumption of talks was hailed as an achievement.
The Quartet's ‘Road Map for Peace’ announced by the Quartet, in 2002, before Tony Blair had even started his tenure also saw little progress. HAMAS and Netanyahu’s government are still polarized and the humanitarian disaster of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge over rogue HAMAS rocket fire was a 'fresh blight' on any ‘road map for peace.’ Since his resignation, Blair has found immediate employment as a spokesperson for anti-semitism with the Jewish organization, European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation, who among other things lobby governments to increase security at synagogues and Jewish schools.