Tony Blair denies role in resettling Palestinians from Gaza

Ex-Middle East envoy and UK prime minister still has office in Israel

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - March 21, 2009: Former Prime Minister of Britain, Tony Blair talks about the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and the steps needed for peace in Palestine and Israel, seen at Emirates Palace.
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Tony Blair, former British prime minister and Middle East peace envoy, has denied his rumoured involvement in the resettlement of Palestinians from Gaza in other countries after claims of his potential role as peacemaker in the conflict.

Israeli TV reported Mr Blair had met Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and war cabinet member Benny Gantz for talks.

Israeli leaders were hoping Mr Blair could mediate between Israel and some moderate Arab countries on postwar Gaza, and help oversee the "voluntary resettlement" of Palestinians in other countries, the report said, without citing a source.

A representative for Mr Blair dismissed the report as untrue and said Palestinians "should be able to stay and live in Gaza".

“The Channel 12 report in Israel linking Tony Blair to a discussion about a role in the voluntary resettlement of Gazans in Arab and other countries is a lie," they told The National.

"The story was published without any contact with Tony Blair or his team. No such discussion has taken place nor would Tony Blair have such a discussion. The idea is wrong in principle."

The Israeli military urges Khan Younis residents to move to Al Mawasi

The Israeli military urges Khan Younis residents to move to Al Mawasi

Though Mr Blair has been touted as a potential go-between in the conflict, his office confirmed "no one has asked him to do that" to date.

Mr Blair has an office in Israel and has continued to work on issues regarding Israel and the Palestinians, a representative said previously.

Israeli officials have openly called for the resettlement of Palestinians from Gaza and Arab countries have warned against such a move, which they say would constitute ethnic cleansing.

Far-right Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich told Israeli radio Palestinians should be encouraged to leave Gaza after the war.

"We need to encourage immigration from there. If there were 100,000-200,000 Arabs in the [Gaza] Strip and not two million, the whole conversation about the day after [the war] would be completely different,” he said, according to the Times of Israel.

“They want to leave. They have been living in a ghetto for 75 years and are in need.”

Updated: January 01, 2024, 1:43 PM