Blair snubs the Gaza Strip

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair cancelled a visit to the Gaza Strip this week after the Israeli General Security Service warned that terror organisations were planning to attack his convoy.

Mr Blair was planning to visit Gaza on Tuesday to meet local businessmen, UNRWA officials and representatives of NGOs in the area. A Hamas spokesman had announced the visit and said that the movement would ensure the security arrangements.

Mr Blair’s office insisted on Wednesday that his planned visit to the Gaza Strip was not a tacit recognition of Hamas and did not depart from the official policy of “the quartet”, which he represents in the region.

Mr Blair’s spokesman, Matthew Doyle, told the JC that “he wasn’t going to meet Hamas people but to look at humanitarian projects. All the coordination for the visit was done with the United Nations.”

An Israeli Foreign Ministry official said that Israel did not see a problem with Mr Blair visiting Gaza.

    Last updated: 8:33am, July 17 2008