21 Jul 2014

Should Blair make speeches in London during Mid East crisis?

In a speech on the 20th anniversary of his becoming Labour leader, Tony Blair devotes half a minute to the situation in Gaza. We asked if London is the place for the Middle East quartet envoy to be?

Mr Blair told an audience of the New Labour pressure group Progress that he was “saddened and angry about the tragedy of the Gaza conflict”.

The former prime minister, derided by some for leading the UK into the Iraq war, described how hundreds of Palestinians, including children, had lost their lives in “this nightmare” and said he had witnessed the ongoing “fear and insecurity” of people in Israel “who still see their right to exist under challenge”.

Mr Blair, the Middle East representative for the Quartet (United Nations, European Union, United States and Russia), spoke for 31 seconds about the conflict in the 25-minute Philip Gould lecture.

Channel 4 News asked followers on Facebook and Twitter if they thought the Middle East envoy should be in London at a time when violent clashes in Gaza are escalating and the death toll has risen above 500.

Critics have accused Mr Blair of war crimes in the past, and the likes of Desmond Tutu have called for his trial at the international criminal court – and the vast majority of respondents said the place Mr Blair should be is at the Hague.

At least 510 Palestinians and 20 Israelis have been killed in the latest Gaza conflict, and tens of thousands have been driven from their homes.

Where has Tony Blair been?

30 June
Aspen Ideas Festival, Colorado. (Bodies of Israeli teenagers found.)

1 July
“Third Way” summit, Cartagena, Colombia. (Israeli bombs targets in Gaza following Israeli discovery.)

2 July
At a party, to honour Labour campaigner Michael Cashman’s retirement, at The Grand Connaught Rooms in London. (Palestinian demonstrators clash with police after Palestinian teenager, Mohammad Abu Khdair, found dead.)

11 July
Jerusalem. (Palestinian medics say that more than 80 been killed in Gaza.)

12 July
Cairo, Egypt. (Palestinian death toll in Gaza exceeds 120.)

13 July
Ramallah, West Bank. (More than 160 dead in Gaza, as UN seeks ceasefire.)

15 July
Jerusalem, Israel, where he gives a joint conference alongside the country’s president, Shimon Peres. (Gaza death toll reaches 197 and first Israeli citizen is killed.)

21 July
London, to deliver the Philip Gould Memorial Lecture. (Palestinian death toll rises to 508, according to a Gaza health ministry official.)

Have your say on the Channel 4 News Facebook page.