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As international pressure grows for ceasefire, Israel seeks appointment of former UK PM Tony Blair as humanitarian coordinator for Gaza

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speaks during a ceremony marking one year since the death of late Israeli President Shimon Peres at Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem, on September 14, 2017. (Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Amid international pressure to call a ceasefire and a desire to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza, Israel is reportedly seeking the appointment of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to be the humanitarian coordinator for the Gaza Strip, according to a report by Israel’s Ynet news outlet, citing unnamed senior officials. 

According to the report, Israel has discussed the issue with Blair in recent weeks but no official agreement has been made.

“Mr. Blair maintains an office in Israel and he continues to work on matters tied to Israel and the Palestinians. Understandably, he has conversations with people in the region and other places in order to see what can be done, but he was not given or offered the role,” Blair’s office said in a statement to Ynet.

In the role of humanitarian coordinator, the emphasis would be on “providing medical treatment and medicines, and on the possibility of evacuating the wounded and sick from the Strip,” according to Ynet, but the details regarding the scope and authority of the role have yet to be defined.

On Oct. 11, Blair issued a condemnation of the Hamas terror group's Oct. 7 massacre of Israeli and other civilians, when he posted to X, saying that the Hamas attack made it “clear” the approach to the conflict had to be “re-thought.”

“As the full nature of the barbarity and disgusting savagery of Hamas’ attack on Israel becomes clear, which the perpetrators know full well will result not only in grief and tragedy for Israelis but also for the people of Gaza, it becomes clear also that decades of conventional western diplomacy around the Israeli/Palestinian issue will need to be fundamentally re-thought,” he wrote.

Blair was an envoy for the Middle East Quartet from 2007 to 2015, which was established to help mediate Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations in the region.

The Middle East Quartet, which has been mostly inactive in recent years, was comprised of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia.

Israel is facing mounting global pressure, with calls for a ceasefire and criticism of its military campaign to eliminate Hamas. A humanitarian coordinator with Blair’s experience could conceivably ease some of that pressure both by showing Israel’s efforts to protect civilians and allowing by allowing the international community to provide aid to Gaza.

The international community has continued to disparage Israel over the number of civilian casualties that Hamas publishes daily, however, those numbers largely go unverified by international organizations, such as the UN and the EU and Israel maintains that Hamas terrorists are often included in the total count.

According to the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), 14,320 tons of humanitarian aid have entered the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the war.

“There is no limit to the amount of food, water and medical equipment that can enter Gaza,” COGAT said on Sunday.

“We invite the international community to coordinate and we will facilitate.”

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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