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News, July , 2007



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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names.


Tony Blair, Middle East Gas Envoy, Brokers a $4 Billion Gaza Gas Deal for Israel

Israel and PA preparing to sign $4 billion gas deal

Date: 20 / 07 / 2007 Time: 11:09

Bethlehem - Ma'an - 

Israel and the Palestinian Authority are reportedly in talks over signing the largest mutual economic agreement since the Oslo Accords, the Israeli Ma'ariv daily reported on Friday.

The paper said that the agreement focuses on the supply of Gaza gas to Israel, through British Gas. Natural gas was found off the coast of Gaza in 2000 and BG has been in talks with the PA specifically the Palestine Investment Fund (PIF) over drilling the gas and selling it to Israel.

The deal, if signed, would reach some three or four billion US dollars, according to Ma'ariv.

The negotiations are taking place between the political advisors of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the chief PLO negotiator, Saeb Erekat, Maariv reported. The talks are focusing on securing guarantees that the funds of the deal will not reach "terrorist organizations," as defined by Israel (The Israeli occupation government refers to resistance to Israeli occupation terrorism as terrorism).

The paper added that the international Quartet's new envoy to the Middle East, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, might contribute to reaching the signing of this deal.

Comment on the news:

This could be actually the major task of Tony Blair, who is closely affiliated with British Petroleum. Now under the guise of a "Peace Envoy" he is going to sell more lies to the Palestinians about an independent Palestinian state, while in fact he is buying more time to the Israeli occupation government to continue its occupation of the Palestinian territories, just like previous envoys did since the Madrid Conference of 1991.

This time Tony Gas Blair is more clear and more blunt than when he sold the invasion of Iraq to the British public. His infamous lie was that the Iraqis can attack London with unconventional weapons after 45 minutes of an order from Saddam Hussain.

As an experienced liar, Blair now has been appointed for a new job that suits his qualifications. It's a win-win situation for him and his masters: Buying time for the Israeli occupation, looting the Gaza gas, and a looming extra reward, probably a Nobel Peace Prize, for his services for the Zionist Empire.

Quartet's new Middle East envoy Blair backs two-state solution, creating viable Palestinian institutions 

Date: 20 / 07 / 2007 Time: 14:52

Bethlehem - Ma'an - Representatives of the international Quartet comprising the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia met in Lisbon yesterday to discuss further how to "move forward" in finding a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Attending his first such meeting, the Quartet's new envoy, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, expressed his commitment to peacemaking in the Middle East.

He stressed that, in his opinion, there was "no more important issue for peace and security in the world," the BBC reported.

Blair's mandate is focused on helping the Palestinians to develop their institutions and economy. According to a press release distributed by the European Union, the Quartet highlighted during their meeting yesterday "the centrality of reform, economic development, and institutional capacity building to the establishment of a stable and prosperous Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza that will unite all Palestinians, and live in peace and security with Israel and its other neighbors."

Blair also stressed the need to create "viable" Palestinian institutions.

"First there has to be a strong, clear political perspective of two states," Blair was quoted as saying by Al Jazeera International. "It's got to then be translated into practical actions so the Palestinian state can come into being."

Consequently, "the Quartet urged the parties and all states in the region to work closely with Mr. Blair, and encouraged robust international support for his efforts."

However, Sharif Hikmit Nashashibi, chairman of UK-based Arab Media Watch, told Al Jazeera, that Blair had offered only "five minutes of fluff and generalisations".

"There was no real meat to what he was saying," he said. "It's typical Blair."

According to Reuters news agency, Blair will visit Jerusalem and Ramallah next week and report back to the Quartet on his strategy of reforms for the Palestinians in September, which is when the Quartet said its next meeting would take place.

The Quartet also welcomed US President George Bush's call for an international conference in the autumn, saying that "such a meeting should provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations in order to move forward on a successful path to a Palestinian state." US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice is expected to visit the Middle East shortly in order to garner support for this US-backed conference.

In the spirit of regional dialogue, the Quartet also said it "welcomed the resumption of bilateral talks between Prime Minister Olmert and President Abbas" and "expressed support for continued and expanded dialogue between Israel and the Arab states."

According to its statement, the Quartet expressed its support for Salam Fayyad and his government, which it said "reflects the January 30, 2006 Quartet principles," referring to the three conditions set down by the international mediators 18 months ago following Hamas' election victory. The three conditions for acceptance were: accept Israel's right to exist, renounce violence, and adopt the previously signed peace agreements.

In terms of the Palestinians' right to freedom of movement, the Quartet emphasized "the importance of creating circumstances that would allow for full implementation of the Agreement on Movement and Access, particularly in view of the impact of crossings on the Palestinian economy and daily life."

The representatives attending the meeting were Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, European Union Foreign and Security Policy Chief Javier Solana, Portuguese Foreign Minister Luis Amado, and European Union Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner, along with the Quartet's new Middle East representative Tony Blair.


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