Blair: Locking Negotiators in A Room Not Way to Peace

GAZA (Reuters/Hamodia) -

During a visit to the Gaza Strip, Mideast envoy of the Quartet Tony Blair said that experience has shown that forcing Israelis and Palestinians to negotiate will not bring peace.

“The last conflict left Gaza devastated and its people worn down and impoverished,” said the former British prime minister. “The problem is not — as is often thought — locking negotiators in a room long enough to make an agreement. At present, you could lock them in such a room for eternity and peace would still not come.”

According to Blair, if the reality on the ground was conducive to peace, “negotiators could find a way through the issues of borders and land swaps, and even Yerushalayim, refugees and security guarantees.”

He said that little of the $5.4 billion pledged for Gaza’s reconstruction at a Cairo conference of international donors last October has reached the territory, and that such assistance was vital to any peace process.