Thursday, March 19, 2009

Tony Blair in Tuwani!

I know it's bad form, but I'm pasting this article in wholesale:

Bethlehem – Ma’an – Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank are denied basic rights afforded to Israeli settlers said Quartet Envoy Tony Blair during a visit to a West Bank village on Thursday.

“The reason for coming here today is to draw attention to the fact that without a new and different system applying in Area C, it is very hard for Palestinians to enjoy a standard of living so that they can enjoy and develop their land as they should be able to develop it,” said Blair during a visit to the village of At-Tuwani, in the hills south of the city of Hebron.

Area C is the some 60% of the West Bank that is under full Israeli military control. In the Oslo peace accords, Israel was allowed to maintain control of the land, until a final status agreement is reached.

Blair noted that Palestinians in Area C are “obviously denied the right to live decent lives,” while “around there are outposts where people do have a decent standard of living,” he said, referring to Israeli settlements built on Palestinian land.

Blair also said the Quartet had raised the issue of Israeli house demolitions in Jerusalem, where more than 1,000 Palestinians are facing displacement in just one neighborhood, Bustan.

“People feel there is no justice and equality in the way these rules are applied,” he said.

Blair also said that enough money had been raised to rebuild the Gaza Strip, which is struggling to recover from Israel’s offensive in December and January which killed more than 1,400 Palestinians. He said however that political steps would have to be taken to ensure that reconstruction takes place.

He said, “The danger is that we reconstruct Gaza and then it is destroyed again.”

Blair is the representative of the international Quartet, a grouping of the US, UN, EU, and Russia, tasked with facilitating the Middle East peace process.

I really hope this gives settlers in the area pause.

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