Update: more from Solomonia here.
From the moment he became the international community's envoy to the Middle East, there was common agreement that Tony Blair was in for a tough challenge, with the distinct risk of a thankless result.
One of Blair's roles is to build, patiently and quietly, Palestinian institutions. That's based on the understanding that stable societies require stable, transparent governance. Day to day, it means he has to engage in complex negotiations and build trust on all sides.
Only today, for example, Israel's Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, confirmed that more than $20 million would be transferred to pay the wages of local employees of the Palestinian Authority in Gaza, citing a request by Blair as a reason for his agreeing to do so. Coming hours after the announcement that Hamas is not interested in negotiations over abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, and a day after terrorists violated the truce by firing a rocket at the Israeli town of Sderot, it cannot have been an easy decision for an Israeli minister,...More >>