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Tony Blair Denies Role In Displacement Of Palestinians From Gaza Strip

Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has faced criticism this week over his alleged involvement in Israeli plans to relocate Palestinian civilians following the destruction of the Gaza Strip. Blair has unequivocally denied these claims.

It has been almost 3 months since Hamas launched an attack in Israel on October 7 where an estimated 1,200 Israelis were killed. In the wake of the assault, Israel has responded with relentless air and ground strikes across the Gaza Strip. Gazan health authorities have since reported the deaths of 21,822 Palestinians and injuries of 56,451 more. Almost 2 million residents in Gaza have been displaced after Israeli retaliation destroyed 60% of its infrastructure and left them without food, clean water, and medicine.  

On the same day he stepped down as Prime Minister in 2007, Blair assumed the position of representative of the Quartet on the Middle East, a forum comprised of Russia along with the US, European Union, and United Nations to facilitate peace across the region. The former Labour leader left this post in 2015 after a particularly controversial tenure.

Last Sunday (December 31) Israeli Channel 12 News reported that Tony Blair had visited the region the week prior and met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his war cabinet minister, Benny Gantz.

It is said that during these alleged discussions, a plan was made to appoint Blair as a mediator between Israel and the West following Palestinian displacement from the Israel-Hamas War. If implemented, the “controversial” Israeli plan to have other countries “absorb” residents from the Gaza Strip will make Blair responsible for allocating those countries set to receive Gazan refugees.

Despite no comment from the Israeli Government, some officials have supported plans for ‘voluntary evacuation’ including Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich.

Ambassador and Head of ‘Palestinian Mission to the UK’, Husam Zomlot took to X (@hzomlot) to criticise the former PM’s role in “the mass expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homeland under the guise of voluntary migration” and asked the UK Government to ensure that British figures will not participate in the actions of Israel. Zomlot says those who do will suffer the legal consequences of their involvement.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates has urged Blair not to involve himself in the crimes of Israel which include genocide and the displacement of the Palestinian people. It said that if accurate, these reports signify “a flagrant violation of international law” which they will monitor and confront. 

In response to his post on X, non-profit organisation The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (@InstituteGC) said the Channel 12 report was “a lie” and “published without any contact with Tony Blair or his team”. In a categorical denial, the Institute said Blair was not involved in any discussions about his role in the “voluntary resettlement of Gazans” and believe the people of Gaza should be able to stay and live where they are. 

Edited by: Kaiyah Ellison

Photo credit: Gian Ehrenzeller/Shutterstock

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