British Prime Minister Tony Blair denies link to role in 'resettlement' of Gazans — World — Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

British Prime Minister Tony Blair denies link to role in 'resettlement' of Gazans — World — Headline News – Nigeria and World News


Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has strongly denied Israeli media reports linking him to last week's talks on resettling Palestinians from Gaza to other countries.

Channel 12 claimed on Sunday that Mr Blair, who retired in 2007 as special envoy to the Middle East with responsibility for building Palestinian institutions, was in Israel last week.

The news channel said he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and wartime cabinet minister Benny Gantz about his role in post-war mediation with Hamas.

He added that he could also act as a mediator with moderate Arab countries regarding the “voluntary resettlement” of Gazans.

Displacing civilians or forcing them to leave by creating uninhabitable conditions during a conflict is a war crime.

The Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, a non-profit organization he founded in 2016, said the report was a “lie”.

“This article was published without any contact with Tony Blair or his team. No such discussions have taken place,” it said in a statement Monday night.

“Tony Blair would not make such an argument either. That idea is wrong in principle. Gazans should be able to remain and live in Gaza.”

– “Unwelcome person” –
The Palestinian president's office in Ramallah condemned the report.

The president's office said it called on the British government to “not allow interference in the fate and future of the Palestinian people”.

“We also consider Tony Blair to be an unwelcome person in the Palestinian territories,” the Palestinian government said, according to the state news agency Wafa.

Channel 12's report comes after two far-right Israeli government ministers called for Jewish settlers to return to the Gaza Strip after the war with Hamas and said Palestinians should be encouraged to emigrate.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who heads the ultra-nationalist Religious Zionist Party, told Israel Military Radio: “Long-term military control of the territory requires a civilian presence.”

He said Israel should “encourage” the Palestinians to leave.

And on Monday, Israel's firebrand Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir said: “We must promote solutions that encourage the migration of Gaza residents.”

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres and Philippe Lazzarini, head of the United Nations Palestine Refugee Agency, are among those who have expressed opposition to the possible deportation of Gazans.

The Israeli minister's comments come after an Oct. 7 attack from Gaza killed about 1,140 people in Israel, most of them civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli statistics. led to criticism.

Israel's brutal military response has left more than 22,000 people dead, mostly women and children, in the Gaza Strip, according to the Hamas-run region's health ministry.

United Nations agencies have warned of a spiraling humanitarian crisis facing the Gaza Strip's 2.4 million residents. They remain under siege and shelling, and most are displaced, huddled in shelters and tents amid dire food shortages.

Source: guardian.ng

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