A caller for peace or a war criminal?

Al Quds Al-Arabi

On June 28, the Palestinian-owned Al Quds Al Arabi carried the following opinion piece by Chief Editor Abdel-Beri Atwan:

“Choosing former British PM Tony Blair as the peace envoy
of the international quartet committee to the Middle East
confirms once again the insistence of the western states
and the US in particular on provoking the feelings of the
Arabs and Muslims and continuing to adopt wrong policies
which led to the current state of bloody chaos in the
Middle East. Blair, whom President Georges Bush wanted to
reward for blindly following his administration, completely
lost his credibility and is considered the most hated
person by Arabs and Muslims after President Bush.

“His name was linked to wars, lies, deceit and bias toward
the Israelis, their aggressions and their massacres against
the Palestinian people. The Arab and Islamic people can’t
forget how Blair promoted the war on Iraq and fabricated
lies before the British parliament to mobilize public
opinion and get it to support his decision and send British
troops to partake in it… The person lied to his people
and misled them. He was the most eager among his peers to
engage in an unfair, illegal and illegitimate war. He can’t
be a peace envoy in the same region that was afflicted by
his lies and their destructive outcome in Iraq, Afghanistan
and Palestine.

“This man should not be rewarded but rather tried before a
tribunal as a war criminal, for he has not assumed his
responsibility for the deaths of over 200 British troops
and over a million Iraqis along with President George Bush
and all of the gang of the neoconservatives… Some might
argue that Blair has a lot of experience in defusing
conflicts, one which he has acquired while handling the
Northern Ireland case… Some might also argue he was also
the most eager to find a solution to the Arab-Israeli
conflict and pledged more than once to work for the
establishment of a viable and independent Palestinian
state…

“Northern Ireland is not Palestine and Blair’s role in the
first is completely different from his role in the second.
When he decided to knock on the doors of peace in Belfast,
he was prime minister and the British people were pushing
in that direction after the explosions reached the heart of
London. In the New Middle East, his role will be nothing
more than a mailman delivering messages and positions and
organizing meetings and conferences without enjoying any
real prerogatives. Blair remained in power for ten years
without ever giving the Arabs and Muslims anything
beneficial especially at the level of the Palestinian
cause.

“More importantly, he appointed Lord Levy – a British Jew
known for his strong relations with the Hebrew state – as
his envoy in the Arab region… During the Israeli massacre
in Jennin, I was a member of a Palestinian delegation of
four people which visited the headquarters of the
Ministers’ Council (10 Downing Street) to meet with Blair
as a representative of the Diaspora to urge him to
interfere and use his influence to stop the massacre. I
remember saying to him after he avoided condemning Israel
and its crimes: “Mr. Blair, are you human like us? Do you
feel like us? Does blood run in your veins like it runs in
ours?… Don’t you know that you the British are the reason
behind our ordeal?”…

“Blair answered me with his usual British coldness and a
yellow smile: “I can’t do anything. America is the only one
capable of doing anything. I am going to Washington in one
week and I will use my influence on President Bush to solve
the Palestinian issue”. Blair indeed visited President Bush
and didn’t do anything for the Palestinians as usual but,
instead, to the Iraqis, since he sent them more bombs,
missiles, death squads, security mayhem and a dreadful
sectarian conflict… The Israelis warmly welcomed Blair’s
appointment in his new position and the fact that occupied
Jerusalem was chosen as [the quartet's] headquarters while
most of the Arabs states remained silent.

“Both reactions summarize the meaning of this step and its
repercussions. The man started on a mission to sabotage the
region and spread destruction and chaos when he was in
power and now he wants to continue that mission after
leaving power. This is where the disaster lies. The quartet
which Blair will represent did not do anything useful to
the Arabs and Muslims throughout the last four years
because it was never formed to be successful…, but rather
to give the Arabs and Muslims the impression that the
American administration is determined to solve the
Palestinian problem as it was spitting its fires over Iraq
and its people…

“The Arab and Muslim people should raise their voice and
oppose Blair whom Bush wants to turn from a war criminal to
a caller for peace, thinking that these people are stupid
and have short-term memories. The only reception befitting
of Blair is with rotten eggs and tomatoes on his first
visit to occupied Jerusalem or any other Arab capital.”
-Al Quds Al Arabi, United Kingdom

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